Tuesday, September 20, 2011

New dimension at High Point – more space

Regulars who make it to High Point Brewing's open houses probably noticed over the past couple of months the knocked down wall at the far end of the brewery.

It is what you think: underway expansion by the makers of the Ramstein craft beer lineup. In July, High Point took over the next-door space in the Butler industrial complex that the 15-year-old brewery has long called home. The space previously had been used to warehouse DVDs produced by an indy filmmaker and distributor, EI Independent Cinema (makers of the B-movie Spiderbabe).

Like a lot of the longtime Garden State production craft brewers, High Point is running at capacity, making the business of brewing the year-round core brands and squeezing in the seasonal brews a tougher balancing act. (High Point also does contract brewing.) Hence, the need to expand.

High Point owner Greg Zaccardi (that's Greg above pouring samples from the September open house) says the back wall came down in late July, and the extra 2,000 square feet of space was immediately used for storing empty kegs. It will also be used for grain storage, and sometime next month the brewery's cold box will be moved into there.

Relocating the cold box will open up 400 square feet for the installation of more 30-barrel fermenters, an undertaking that had been on the brewery's 2011 to-do list. That project is now slated for just after the start of 2012.

Greg says the brewery needs to get past the Oktoberfest season, an über-busy time of year for High Point, which specializes in German-style beers. On the heels of that is another big-selling seasonal, Ramstein Winter Wheat Doppelbock.

(Look for more of the weizenbock to make it into 12-ounces bottles this season than last year. Most of it was draft only last time, and a larger-than-normal portion of the production run was set aside for turning into Icestorm eisbock.)

Speaking of Oktoberfest, High Point brewed 10 15-barrel batches of its popular märzen this year. Demand for the seasonal was up 25 percent, and the brewery had to make a decision about whether to temporarily cut back on brewing Blonde wheat beer, a year-round Ramstein brew, when it began its production run of Oktoberfest back in July.

EVENT NOTE: High Point will tap an Austrian oak barrel of the märzen as part of an Oktoberfest event at the Pilsener Haus & Biergarten in Hoboken on Friday.

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