Rochester Mills Beer Co. is expanding on the success of its suds at its downtown Rochester brewpub by opening a production facility in Auburn Hills.
The new facility, a renovated 48,000-square-foot space, 50 barrel brewhouse, will produce the popular Cornerstone IPA craft beer will be brewed, bottled, canned and kegged for sale in stores, bars and restaurants around Michigan.
The 13-year-old company also plans to brew its Rochester Red Ale and Milkshake Stout from the new facility that will also house a tasting room in view of the massive fermentation tanks as well as its sales, marketing and management offices.
Construction has begun and equipment is arriving daily, says David Youngman, spokesman for Rochester Mills Beer Co. and production facility. The brewing plant will be operational by the end of the first quarter of 2012, he says. Already a handful of employees have been hired and more will be as the facility ramps up production, he says.
“When you look at what’s happening with the craft beer industry it’s so exciting. It’s really caught fire,” Youngman says.
While mass produced beer has experienced decreasing sales the craft industry is experiencing double digit growth, he says.
“When you look at states known for craft beer, California, some other West Coast states and far East Coast states, Michigan is really holding its own as a leader with over 85 craft beer breweries in the state that are part of the Michigan Brewers’ Guild.”
He says the company tested the market by hiring an independent company to bottle the beer and distribute it to 80 merchants around Oakland County.
With the new facility the company will bottle and can all its own.
“It was flying off the shelves. It was encouraging to see how people have embraced craft beer,” he says. “This has been a long time coming. It was part of Mike’s, the founder’s original vision…”
Rochester Mills beer distribution plans adds to a thriving craft beer market that has brewers in Michigan winning national and international awards and selling their creations outside the state. The new production facility can brew up to 100,000 of additional barrels of beer a year in its initial opening, and more than 200,000 barrels if demand calls for the further expansion.
“We have some of the best brewers in the state,” says Mike Plesz, president and founder of the Rochester Mills Production Brewery. “This expansion is an investment in our future to make sure that we are ready to make as much beer as necessary to meet demand.”
Source: David Youngman, spokesman, Rochester Hills Brewing Co. and Production Brewery
Writer: Kim North Shine