USA: Deschutes Brewery delays opening of East coast brewery

Deschutes Brewery form Bend, Oregon, the tenth largest craft brewer in the United States according to BA’s list, has postponed plans to open a second $85 million brewery with an annual capacity of 150,000 barrels at the East coast in Roanoke, Virginia. Last year the brewery experienced declining sales for the first time since its foundation 30 years ago in 1988. The company saw volume sales drop by more than 9 percent in 2017, which came as a surprise. The production capacity of the existing Bend brewery is 575,000 barrels (675,000 hl) annually, but the brewing facility was only partly used to produce 335,000 barrels (393,000 hl) of beer in 2017.

Deschutes CEO Michael LaLonde said on Monday that the brewery wanted “to gain some flexibility.” Deschutes still plans to break ground in June 2019 but it is unlikely that the brewery starts production by June 1, 2021, as originally planned.

This also means not taking an incentives package that would have forgiven the cost of land. Instead Deschutes is going to purchase the land at a cost of $3.2 million within the next five weeks. “We just want to control our own destiny; we did have to give up some incentives,” LaLonde said.

Deschutes Brewery is last in the row of four West coast breweries to open a new site in Virginia and to conquer the US East coast. Green Flash Brewing Co. headquartered in San Diego/California was the first to open its East coast brewery and distribution center to the public on Nov. 13, 2016. Second was Stone Brewing Co., also based in the San Diego area in Escondido / California with an official opening of the retail store and tasting room on March 2, 2017. Third was Ballast Point, also based in the San Diego area, which opened its new 18,000-square-foot tasting room & kitchen on June 12, 2017. (, 25.6.2017)

In order to reverse the negative sales trend and to profit from the growing demand for beer in cans, Deschutes has installed its first canning line, which started operation in January. The brewery also added a pilot brewery, which will allow it to run 20 test brews a month, compared with 20 a year, LaLonde said.

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