Gallons and gallons of more Pfriem beer will be coming out of the Gorge thanks to a massive brewery expansion.
The Hood River-based business will break ground on a new facility in Cascade Locks, which will increase production to more than 60,000 barrels—approximately three times more than its current capacity. Moving all those barrels and the open fermentation vessel known as a coolship will free up space in Pfriem's Columbia riverfront building, which it has grown out of since its founding in 2012. During the next two years, the brewery will install a second larger brewhouse, new fermentation capacity and a canning line in Hood River.
"This will help keep the shelves full and keep people happy," co-owner Josh Pfriem said at a press conference Saturday in Hood River.
Both the Ports of Hood River and Cascade Locks have been key partners in Pfriem's expansion strategy. Since those entities own a majority of the land in that area, the brewery founders know they'll have a stable landlord when the 22,000-square-foot secondary production facility opens. At this point, that should be ready for move in by the first quarter of 2020.
"The goal has been to increase our offerings, continue to boost quality and innovation and to create opportunities for our employees to further their careers and personal lives in the special communities that we are lucky to be a part of," Pfriem said in a satement. "We feel that we are on an exciting path to accomplishing these goals throughout these two interconnected expansion projects."
Despite the ability to produce more batches in the future, the brewery will remain focused on distributing in the Northwest. Currently, about 75 percent of Pfriem's beer is purchased in Oregon.
You won't have to wait for the expansion to be complete to buy two of their products in cans. A mobile packager has set up camp at Pfriem and has started putting the IPA and the Pilsner into the new containers. Retail price for those six-packs might be a little pricier than the competition at $11.99 and $10.99, respectively. But when it comes to obtaining beer made from the 2018 Great American Beer Festival's Mid-Size Brewing Company of the Year, pFriem bets people are willing to pay a little more.
"Our beers are not going to be $6.99," said Pfriem. "We're OK with that and we don't feel like we have to lower our prices."