Seattle’s award-winning brewery heads east
To help address the growing popularity of its beers on the opposite coast, Ghostfish Brewing recently announced its plans to open a brewery in Upstate New York, about 60 miles west of Buffalo. The new brewery will focus on meeting the increasing demand for Ghostfish beers east of the Mississippi River.
Last year, Ghostfish Brewing produced about 5,000 barrels of beer at its one and only brewery in Seattle. That’s the brewery’s maximum capacity and it’s a problem unto itself, one the company hopes to remedy in the near future. Another problem, if you consider it a problem at all, the company’s beers have gained popularity with beer drinkers 3,000 miles away in places like New York and Massachusetts. This presents an uncommon set of logistics.
Most Washington-brewed beers never leave the state. Like the beers it brews, Ghostfish Brewing is a bit different. The company’s gluten-free beers are available in nearly 20 states across the country. Away from the taproom in Seattle, only about 20%-30% of its beer stays in Washington. In fact, Massachusetts is poised to overtake Oregon as the second-largest consumer of Ghostfish beers.
Some breweries may consider contract brewing to remedy this kind of logistical problem, finding an appropriately located brewery to produce beers on its behalf and to its specifications. However, for Ghostfish Brewing that isn’t an option. The nature of the beer dictates that it is produced in an entirely gluten-free facility. That means it can never produce “regular” beer. It is a commitment made by very, very few breweries.
As for Ghostfish’s new, gluten-free brewery in New York, it will initially have the capacity to produce 3,500 barrels per year. It will focus on supplying the company’s core beers. In addition to logistical advantages, the facility in New York presents an economical edge for a production brewery, one that should facilitate affordable growth at that location.
Seattle expansion plans?
In addition to the new brewery in New York, the company is currently considering moving production to a warehouse space located outside the city, somewhere in the Seattle area, where it can build a larger brewery.
The move would not impact the brewery and taproom in Seattle, where both the beer and the food are absolutely gluten-free. It would, however, free up the Seattle location to focus on products beyond its core offerings, spawning more new, innovative beers.