Did you miss the great news? Springfield Brewing Company is EXPANDING! In fact, we’ve already started construction on the empty warehouse right behind us. Floor drains are being cut out, plans are being made and new tanks are being built. It’s all very exciting, but to be honest, as soon as we jumped in the air and yelled “Yahoo!” after all the paperwork was signed, we also started wondering how we were going to keep up with the increased beer demand. There were so many questions left to answer… What new possibilities awaited our brewers with the increase in space? Would this mean we new offices in the warehouse? Could we throw a roller skating party in the empty space before construction started? Clearly, we had some things to figure out, and still do. But there’s one thing we know for sure: The expansion will mean more beer. And that is GREAT news, even if we can’t have the most amazing roller skating party beforehand.
To get the inside scoop on what our brewers and owners first thought of the expansion, keep reading!
How long have you wanted to expand?
Ashton Lewis: Since SBC opened! From 1997 to 2011 (when we bought SBC), the brewery’s mission statement did not include expanding its footprint in southwest Missouri. But when Mueller sold SBC to our group, that all changed.
What was your first reaction to the news that we were going to expand?
Stephen Straub: Wow! Yeah! This will probably let me learn all sorts of new things and perhaps provide us with the flexibility to try a few brewer-originated beer recipes.
Bruce Johnson: Finally!
What were you most excited about?
Ashton Lewis: Having the capacity to brew more beer without feeling cramped and hurried.
What was your biggest fear?
Ashton Lewis: Was? My biggest fear still is adding more capacity and not fully utilizing what we build. This is a classic fear for any business that’s still growing.
What would you do with your dream expansion?
Ashton Lewis: Make more beer-lovers in southwest Missouri happy with what is happening here in our local beer scene.
Stephen Straub: I am a huge fan of farmhouse ales and am traveling to Belgium this spring to visit several farmhouse breweries. I would love to brew a traditional saison with a choice yeast strain. Something tasty, balanced, and awesome with dinner.
Bruce Johnson: Brew more lagers.
What are you most looking forward to?
Ashton Lewis: Our bigger, roomier cellar that will allow us to brew more beer and allow us to do some fun stuff in the brewery that we have not been able to do in the pasty due to limited space. I have some ideas that will have to wait before being revealed!
What will the expansion mean for you guys back in the brewery?
Stephen Straub: It means that we have to get even better at what we do to ensure that we achieve a quality product at the pub and in the bottle.
Bruce Johnson: More brewers and shifts to schedule.
What’s the first change that will affect you in the move?
Stephen Straub: Spent Grain. We currently use 55 gallon buckets to “grain out” and provide a local farmer with an animal feed supplement. We are now going to use a large hopper to collect spent grain from two batches, and we are currently in trials to see whether this works for us and the farmer. One of the worst things that can happen is that one of the 55 gallon buckets gets out of place when we are pumping grain – this creates a huge, sticky mess!
How will this increase our brewing capacity?
Stephen Straub: At the end of this expansion, we should be able to produce about three times the amount of beer that we currently make. That’s a lot of beer for us!