Archive for January 31, 2019

Ponderosa head brewer Antonio Fernandez was a busy man in 2018, and that won’t change this year.

Every brewery that opens an off-site taproom hopes that it provides a decent boost in sales and revenue. For the folks at Ponderosa Brewing, they had those hopes when the small taproom at the renovated El Vado Motel on Central opened this past summer. The results, however, went well beyond what head brewer Antonio Fernandez expected, as he explained when we sat down for the Ponderosa entry in our annual Look Back/Look Ahead Series on Wednesday afternoon.

“2018 was crazy,” Antonio said. “Of course the biggest thing was getting the taproom at El Vado open. None of us were ready for what was going to happen with that. I was thinking like most taprooms it would probably give us a little kick when it first opened and then ramp up business. But, man, we just hit the ground running, selling tons of beer out of there and it never slowed down until like Thanksgiving.”

That was all well and good from a sales perspective, but not necessarily from a brewing perspective. Antonio said he had to scramble to keep up with double the usual demand.

“I took a big hit over here, actually,” he said. “We have draft accounts, I was brewing beer for (putting beer in) cans, and the next thing you know we had gone down to only five beers on tap at both places while I tried to get caught up. I had to modify my brewhouse slightly so I could double-batch in a single day without taking 14 hours. That was a big change. I had to get on the new paradigm.

“I was brewing twice as much beer as the year before. Our output was way up compared to the past. This is our fourth year now. We brewed and sold way more beer than we ever had before and it’s been our most profitable year as a company, also.”

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