Expansion makes Otter Creek in Middlebury largest brewery in Vermont
MIDDLEBURY — Otter Creek Brewery cut the ribbon on its brand new 8,000-square-foot, 120-barrel brew house this past Thursday, making the Middlebury brewery the largest beer maker, by volume, in Vermont.
“This is the story of why Vermont has one of the lowest unemployment rates in America,” said Gov. Peter Shumlin, who spoke at the ribbon cutting ceremony. “We have a diversified economy and creative people like Otter Creek that have extraordinary products which set the world standard for microbrewed beer.”
“I’ve been very supportive of all the microbreweries across the state, but let’s remember — Otter Creek was really the first,” Shumlin continued. “Twenty-five years ago it was a pretty radical idea to try to make beer when everyone was buying processed corporate beer. Otter Creek has set the standard for quality, for marketing, and for what I call ‘Vermont beer values.’”
The expansion represents a serious financial commitment for the company.
“The overall cost was in excess of $7 million,” said Dan Fulham, president and CEO of OCB.
Constructed in Germany, the automated BrauKon brewing vessels will eventually allow OCB to produce approximately 200,000 barrels of beer per year, up from the 65,000 barrels per year it is currently able to produce. Production will be incrementally increased over the next two phases of the expansion.
The Aug. 4 ceremony marked the end of phase I of the OCB expansion. Phase I included the addition of a cold hop storage area, a locker room/break room for employees, a new conference room, a new laboratory, and new office space.
Phase II will add even more office space and expand the kitchen of the on-site pub. New production and fermenting equipment will also be installed. Phase II is expected to be completed sometime in 2017.
Phase III will add new warehouse equipment, more fermenting equipment and a new bottling line. This final phase is planned to be completed before the end of 2018.
Other local businesses benefited from the construction as well. Along with Hutch Crane Service, Bread Loaf Construction was hired for the project, continuing a decades-old business relationship.
“One thing we were very happy about with this project was that we were able to continue the 20-year relationship with Bread Loaf Construction because they were the original designer and contractor for the building back when Lawrence Miller started it up,” said Fulham.
“Otter Creek is making a product that the employees are proud of,” said Shumlin. “They wouldn’t be able to prosper without the most innovative, hardworking people that you can find anywhere and that’s right here in the Green Mountain State. We’ve got a lot to be proud of.”
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