As a result of the many inquiries I get all the time from folks interested in the new expansion at Santa Fe Brewing Co., I recently checked in on New Mexico’s oldest brewery to determine the progress they’re making in the expansion of their new production facility located just off of Highway 14. Bert Boyce, brewmaster of SFBC, gave me the low-down on where the brewery currently stands.
Boyce said the major expansion happening right now is the great packaging hall. Having gone up in just a few short months, it has already become a major feature on the Highway 14 landscape. Patrons continue to ask, “What is that huge building? Is that you guys?” To which the employees answer proudly, “Yes, yes it is.” There, in this enormous new warehouse space, the high-speed canning line is being assembled. Coming all the way from CFT Packaging in Italy, the line features high-automation and recipe-driven control, as well as boasting very low dissolved oxygen, which, as you may know is a major killer of packaged products’ shelf-life.
Boyce said that SFBC is aiming for early June for the line to be operational. Currently on the old system, SFBC is doing 30 cans per minute. They hope to push that to 138 at first, expanding to 275, once it reaches completion. That means that SFBC has been doing about 400 cases per run, and will be hitting 5,500 cases at peak performance. This will be highly instrumental as the new 12-packs of Happy Camper and 18-packs of Santa Fe Gold start to hit the stores.
With the new horse power of the high-speed canning line, the brewhouse is obviously going to have to produce a lot more beer just to keep up. To address this, SFBC is about to purchase a new brewhouse within the month. This brewhouse will more than double the size, at 70 barrels, and is about one year out from being Death Star status (no Alderaans were harmed in the making of this brewhouse). Of course, bigger batches means a need for more fermenters, and Boyce said that there will be plenty more arriving as the need arises. In fact, two will be arriving this week. When asked exactly how many SFBC will be acquiring, Bert said, “A lot.”
We will keep you updated on the next phases in Santa Fe Brewing Company’s ongoing expansion, including the new two-story tasting room, beer garden, sky bridge, barrel cave, and the event space known as The Bridge, as more info develops. Signing off for Dark Side Brew Crew Santa Fe — to all the ambitious brewery development in the works, cheers!
— Luke (Craft Crusader)