The empty dirt lot at the intersection of Fulkerth Avenue and Dianne Drive was not so empty on Wednesday morning as Dust Bowl Brewing Company owners, their friends, family, and various stakeholders gathered to celebrate the groundbreaking of the beer company’s expansion.
A downtown hotspot for years, the taproom and eatery portion of Dust Bowl Brewing Company is just one segment of the brewery’s operation. The new facility at Fulkerth and Dianne will house the company’s brewing, bottling, storage, shipping, and business operations which will be open 24 hours a day.
However, the project is not all work and no play.
There will also be a tasting room, or retail visitor center, with a large patio area and the company intends to allow self-guided tours of the brewing process.
“There will be a lot of big windows so you can see the whole brewing process. We’ll have light fare and food,” said co-owner Brett Honoré. “There will be a lot of room to have fun.”
“It’s going to be a place to gather socially. I think you will find anything that you want. Families, couples, friends, it will be for everybody,” added co-owner Brett Tate.
Founded in 2009, Dust Bowl has been brewing beer at a 3,000 square foot facility in Turlock’s Industrial Park that allows the company to produce roughly 4,000 barrels of beer annually. With the expansion the company projects that 17,000 barrels of beer a year will fulfill the initial capacity with sales projected to reach 10,000 barrels in the first year. Currently Dust Bowl is selling the maximum amount of beer it can — 5,400 barrels annually — at its present facility on Spengler Way.
“Right now we only have three brews that are bottled year round available and we’ll take that up to about 15 to 18 in the first year,” said Head Brewmaster Don Oliver.
The company plans to extend its portfolio to produce six year round six-pack brews, four seasonal 4-pack brews, four seasonal 22 ounce bombers, as well as packaged specialty releases.
The company, which presently employs 50 employees, anticipates adding 15 to 25 new positions in the management, production, and sales areas of operations and positions will be posted on www.dustbowlbrewing.com.
The new Dust Bowl “west” location is slated for completion in December 2015.