Rochester Mills Beer Co. moves its microbrews to mass production

The last of the tanks, equipment and supplies that will be used to make barrels and barrels of beer by Rochester Mills Beer Co. at its new production facility in Auburn Hills have been moved in. Rochester Mills Beer Co’s. is planning to make the jump from microbrew to mass produced, putting its beers on menus and shelves that are increasingly being taken over by craft brews.

Initially, the new brewhouse will produce kegs to be served on draft, followed by canned beers. The kegging and canning, distributing and selling will create six to ten full-time jobs, including office staff, a controller, an accountant, marketing and sales people, says David Youngman, spokesman for Rochester Mills Beer Co.

“Our roll out plans include adding additional fermentation tanks every couple of months,” Youngman says. “As we do that we’ll staff up. Our initial capacity with the equipment on hand is 6,000 to 12,000 barrels of beer this year. The site itself, once filled with tanks, could hit 100,000 barrels a year. At that point we’ll have 30-40 employees.”

Rochester Mills Beer Co. was opened nearly 14 years ago by Mike Plesz in downtown Rochester. He started it – and its successful restaurant – after a three year run at the Royal Oak Brewery, believed to be Michigan’s first brewpub in 1995.

RBMC’s Cornerstone IPA, Rochester Red Ale and Milkshake Stout as well as seasonal selections made by award-winning beer masters have drawn a loyal following and folded into Plesz’s “vision from the beginning to distribute craft beer statewide and beyond,” Youngman says.

“This production facility was really 20 years in the making,” Youngman says.

Youngman says Rochester Mills Beer Co. canned beer will be part of a growing number of beers that will be canned instead of bottled.

“We selected to go with cans because it was best for the packaged product. Two things that affect beer are light and oxygen…Think of the can as as a little keg. It’s the best delivery system for craft beer. You’ll see more and more high quality craft product in cans.”

The new facility, at 3275 Lapeer West Road near I-75, is within view of the Palace of Auburn Hills and five miles door to door to the brewpub. The new production house is going into a renovated facility that’s been home to a rockscape business, an automotive seat manufacturer and a leather bound book maker.

Inside is a “state of the art brewhouse,” Youngman says.

A grand opening for the public is set for May 12 from 1-5 p.m. and will include tours and tastings.

Source: David Youngman, spokesman, Rochester Mills Beer Co.
Writer: Kim North Shine