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Avery Brewing in Boulder, Colorado – the US-American craft beer scene’s pioneer has come of age

We’ve just happened upon an issue of the 4/16 magazine. And there we found loads of interesting articles: like a report on the Avery brewery in Boulder, California. And because we immediately started browsing, we want to share this discovery with others. Here, however, there’s space for only a brief summary; there’s more about the subject on the magazine article.

In 2014, 21 years after Adam Avery and his father Larry started brewing beer in a garage, the old, repeatedly expanded brewery had finally come up against the limits of its capacities. Because more and more garages had to be purchased to provide enough room for the steady stream of expansions. In the end, the brewery was accommodated in ten adjacent garages. Now, Avery was ready for an upgrade. Some distance outside Boulder, the family-managed company found a suitable plot, where it erected a brand-new brewery with a restaurant connected, which in its second phase of expansion seats 250 people and also boasts a beer garden. “That was a giant step forward for us,” emphasizes Adam. “You see, in the old brewery we simply lacked the infrastructure for brewing ever-growing quantities of beer. That’s why we decided to go for this future-compatible new building, which even though it had been properly budgeted still constituted a certain risk. To be able to brew beer here today – there’s simply no comparison with what we had before – it’s so great for me and the entire team, whom, by the way, I’m extremely proud of.”

Avery chose a CombiCube B as the core technology. This compact-size brewhouse consists of four vessels: amash tun, a lauter tun, a wort kettle and a whirlpool. It has been dimensioned for an output of 100 hectolitres per brew with eight brews a day. The old system, by contrast, merely produced 50 hectolitres per brew with four brews a day.

Highly flexible working is possible

For malt grinding, an upstream Variomill wet mill with a throughput of ten tons an hour was installed by Avery. Such a high throughput could also feed malt grist to a second CombiCube B, something that Avery intends to install once the first has reached the limits of its capacity. “With this approach, we can quite easily double our brewhouse volume while still retaining the flexibility we need for our many different beers,” is how Steve, Chief Operating Officer bei Avery, explains the idea behind this approach.

“The CombiCube has turned out to be the ideal tool for us,” says Adam.

In 2015, Avery brewed no less than 52 different beers in the CombiCube B, so one new beer type a week on average. A hop-dosing system has also been integrated in the brewhouse, which lends the beers their wonderfully striking hop aroma and bitterness.

Come of age

The official opening of the new greenfield brewery took place in May 2015, on an area almost four times as large. There, the brewery is able to make 81,000 hectolitres of beer – with an option for yet another expansion. The plan is to upsize the brewery step by step in 2016 by installing further fermentation and storage tank capacities, so as to reach an annual output of 155,000 hectolitres. The brewery is currently anticipating a production volume of 107,000 hectolitres in 2016.

When asked about the US craft beer scene in general, Adam Avery is very optimistic: “Everyone’s talking about a market share of 20 per cent in a few years’ time. It may be possible. We, in any case, are already noticing that our business is getting easier by the day. We no longer have to actively sell our craft beer, no longer have to inform or educate consumers: we’re simply facing a rising tide of demand.”

Avery Brewing found its niche in the booming craft beer market at an early stage, with heavily hopped beers, with taste-explosive, high-abv specialities and with barrique beers, and can meanwhile sustainably draw on the benefits involved. By building the new brewery and installing the CombiCube B, after 21 years of garage existence, Avery Brewing has come of age.

 

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