E-Malt.com News article: USA, CA: Russian River Brewing Co. planning new brewery in Windsor
It’s a busy time for Santa Rosa’s Russian River Brewing Co., maker of cult beers like Pliny the Younger, the San Francisco Chronicle reported on January 11.
As the brewery team gears up for the 14th annual release of Younger — which will run from Feb. 3- Feb.16 — they’re getting ready to break ground on a brand new, 35,000-barrel brewhouse in Windsor, more than twice the brewery’s current size. The project has been in the works for years and will feature a tasting room, gift shop, second brewpub with outdoor seating and both guided and self-guided tours. The groundbreaking is expected in late March, with a goal of opening for business in 2018.
“Everything has gone really smoothly,” said Natalie Cilurzo, who owns Russian River Brewing Co. with her husband Vinnie. (Check out my 2015 profile of the couple and the company.) “It’s been a really fascinating, and time-consuming, process.”
“We’re adding a lot more sophistication to our brewing process by getting updated equipment,” she added.
The new brewhouse will add open-top fermentation tanks for the first time, sourced from the German company Gresser, which will be used to ferment ales and lagers like Blind Pig and STS Pilsner. Cilurzo says they’re the third brewery in the U.S. to obtain Gresser’s open-tops.
Also new will be a 12.5-square foot coolship — a vessel that exposes the beer’s wort to ambient yeast and bacteria. “We’ll be able to brew much like they do in Lambic,” Cilurzo said. “Beatification (the brewery’s spontaneously fermented sour) will improve.”
The Windsor facility will also strengthen the company’s sustainability efforts. For example, they’ll install a Cambrian EcoVolt waste water converter, a different model of a similar machine at nearby Seismic Brewing Co.
No changes are expected at the Russian River Brewing’s Co.’s current brewpub in downtown Santa Rosa. “We hope to release a little pressure from downtown so that there’s not the ginormous lines every weekend to come in,” said Cilurzo. “The regulars will get their old pub back.”
And yes, they do plan to release Pliny the Younger at both locations.
That mega-popular triple IPA, which is released at the brewery for two weeks beginning the first Friday of every February, is known for generating lines that wrap around many city blocks, days in advance. The beer is available only for consumption at the brewery (no growlers), with distribution to just a handful of other bars. In recent years, Russian River has implemented a policy that customers can stay inside the brewpub until they’ve reached three hours or three Plinys, whichever comes first.
12 January, 2017