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Turlock beer maker readies Ceres tap room
Blaker brewery
Tom Lucas of Blaker Brewery pictured at the March groundbreaking ceremony for his Blaker Brewing plant and tasting room in southwest Ceres. - photo by JEFF BENZIGER/The Journal

Construction continues in southwest Ceres for Blaker Brewery's new beer brewery and tap room with a possible opening in October.

The fledgling company from rural Turlock broke ground inside the Miller Industrial Park in March and hoped to be open by July. Things have taken a little longer, said Tom Lucas of Blaker Brewery.

"We had an empty building on June 14 so we've come pretty far pretty fast once I got in here and was able to do what we wanted to do," said Lucas. "But it took a while to get the parking lot and get the shell done. It was the thing that kind of held us back."

The introduction of hot water this week will allow the company to do some water brews and clean-out brews.

Blaker plans to "iron out the kinks" in a couple of soft openings followed by a grand opening at a yet-to-be-determined date.

"We will know once we get that first brew done. We'll be able to set a date shortly after that but we're shooting toward the end of October."

Blaker Brewery started brewing craft beer in 2012 on the Lucas Dairy — operating on Fulkerth Road in rural Turlock since 1938 — where corn, wheat and hops are grown. Tom Lucas said his family wanted to expand the brewery from the farm-based operation and made arrangements with Millcreek Construction of Ceres to build a 6,000-square-foot metal structure for leasing on Monte Claire Drive. The facility will feature a 1,000-square-foot tap room, malt cracking room and brew house with its stainless-steel tanks.

"We're a little bit off the beaten path but people are going to find us. In the beer drinking world that's kind of how it happens," said Lucas. "We'll be at all sorts of events, you know, brew-fest events. We're putting together a marketing team and so we'll get the word out."

Blaker Brewing's website notes 13 craft beers but Lucas continues to experiment to create new ones. The plan is to put three to four styles out on the market.

"We'll have in our tap room up to 12 handles is what we're planning right now. We've probably made at least 20 different styles. We have kind of a group of about 10 that are fairly solid that we can bring in right away. We're always experimenting and innovating and coming up with new stuff. We'll have a few handles in there that are always rotating new fresh supply of different styles."