We are so excited to have been able to celebrate the grand opening of our new production facility, Creature Comforts at Southern Mill, on June 11 with a ribbon cutting joined by Athens-Clarke County Mayor and Commission.
We originally announced our expansion plans back in January 2017. We broke ground in May 2017 and began initial production at the facility in March 2018. In order to maintain a close distance to our downtown location, and with the assistance and cooperation of the Athens-Clarke County government, we selected the historic Southern Mill complex off North Chase Street to house the second facility.
Originally built in 1900, the mill is currently being redeveloped into a mixed-use development. As a brewery and local business, we were committed to preserving as much of the character of the building as possible during the reconstruction, similar to our downtown Snow Tire Tasting Room and brewery location. We are humbled to be the recipient of a 2018 Athens-Clarke Heritage Foundation Award in the category of Adaptive Reuse and worked with local companies, Studio BNA Architects and Grahl Construction on the Southern Mill facility.
“We never expected that two years into opening our doors we would have a need to start working on building a new brewery,” says our CEO Chris Herron. “However, two years later we are extremely grateful to have it come online as our existing brewery had been operating at maximum capacity for fifteen months. We are excited to have the opportunity to both increase the quality and the quantity of our beer, to create jobs, and to reinvest right here in Athens.”
We've invested $11 million into the 40,000-square-foot historic building at Southern Mill, which houses new state-of-the-art equipment including a fully automated dual 85-barrel brewhouse from German manufacturer Steinecker, a 24-head rotary filler for canning manufactured by Krones, and 50,000 barrels worth of initial annual fermentation capacity. As we continue our commitment to quality, we've also invested nearly a quarter of a million dollars into a quality laboratory onsite.
The initial focus of our new brewery is on production with plans for a tasting room in the future. The technology of the equipment has greatly increased the efficiency of our production and packaging. The canning line averages 185 cans packaged per minute, in comparison to 40 cans per minute the brewery packages with its canning line in the Snow Tire facility. At the new production brewery, a 340-barrel batch of our year-round IPA, Tropicália, is brewed in 16-17 hours, while at the downtown location a 120-barrel batch of Tropicália is brewed in 20 hours. With the increased capacity and efficiency of the equipment, we expect to make a significant increase on our presence in our current distribution footprint.
“The new facility we’ve built here at Southern Mill gives us the ultimate control to precisely make high quality beer exactly the way we want, with better shelf stability and with much greater efficiency,” says Brewmaster Adam Beauchamp. “Every system has been upgraded from water treatment to boilers all the way through to packaging. Sustainability was a big focus for us as we went through equipment selection and plant design. All in all, we believe the brewery we’ve built will allow us to provide our consumers with a product that they will consistently be happy with.”