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MARKET WATCH: Local Breweries Gearing Up for Continued Growth in 2016

Several San Antonio microbreweries are planning big things as the new year unfolds.  Freetail Brewing Co., which opened in 2008, has announced new investors are sought to help support brewery expansion as it strives to keep up with rising demand for local craft beers.  Freetail, based on the far North Side of town, originally invested about $3 million to develop a second brewery on South Presa Street, south of downtown. That brewery opened in 2014 and has since seen expansion to meet increasing production demands.  The facility is capable of producing up to 6,000 barrels yearly. Freetail officials said their company is producing 5,000 barrels a year, a figure that they expect to go up.  The newest fundraising effort will last three to four months, and will include the formation of a board of directors so that the new investors can help with marketing and distribution strategies.

BW-breweryFreetail

Ranger Creek Brewing & Distilling recently signed an agreement that has Glazer’s handling the distribution of Ranger Creek’s beer brands in and around San Antonio.  The Northeast Side brewery will keep directly distributing its beer in Austin and Houston, and will continue working with existing distributors for the Dallas and College Station markets. The Glazer deal does not affect Ranger Creek’s whiskey brand.  Launched five years ago, Ranger Creek has ordered new equipment to expand capacity to meet projected growth this year.

BW-breweryRangerCreek

Other local microbreweries have experienced varying levels of growth in recent years.  Busted Sandal Brewing Co., based near Balcones Heights, plans to introduce new year-round brews. The company recently began canning some of its product.  Alamo Beer Co., located in the shadow of the Hays Street bridge on the city’s near East Side, is two months short of its first anniversary. Alamo has been introducing more seasonal beers in addition to its current four year-round products.  Alamo’s next seasonal will be just in time for Fiesta.  The Cibolo-based 5 Stone Artisan Brewery continues to supply a growing number of retailers. Branchline Brewing this month is celebrating its third anniversary.  Branchline has expanded the number of products, and joined Busted Sandal among the local microbreweries with products at the new Rock & Brews bar at the AT&T Center. Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons, members of the legendary rock band Kiss, own the Rock & Brews chain nationwide.  Additionally, Pearl now has two microbreweries: The Granary `Cue & Brew, which has been operating since 2013, and Southerleigh Fine Food and Brewery, which opened in 2015 using the original Pearl Brewery production building.

Future Home of OK Brewery and Eishaus in Hemisfair Park
Future Home of OK Brewery and Eishaus in Hemisfair Park

This year will see the opening of two microbreweries. One is OK Brewery and Eishaus in Hemisfair, which is being redeveloped into a new, larger public space. Black Laboratory Brewing, which has been operating out of a garage, has been offering samples at public events and seeks to move into a commercial location soon.  Even Dorcol Distilling, which had been producing its own brand of rakia in Southtown, now plans to introduce its own brand of beer.  Meanwhile, there has been an increase in the number of growler stations, which specialize in selling local and Texas craft beers on the premise and in to-go containers.  Most recently, Big Hops Growler Station vacated its original Broadway location and moved into a larger space off Embassy Oaks and West Avenue. That location remains under interior construction.

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