Gainesville’s Swamp Head Brewery announced today that it has finished its move to a new facility, tripling its brewing capacity and becoming the first brewery in Florida to use solar power to help meet its energy demands.
And it’s ready for customers – well nearly ready, but that won’t stop the taps from flowing.
The new brewery is dedicating a portion of its six-acre property into protected conservation, giving its surroundings a feeling to match the name of its tasting room, “The Wetlands.” That room still needs a little polishing, but Swamp Head invites customers to hang out while it’s finished – at least during normal business hours (Tuesday to Friday, 4 to 9 p.m., and Saturday, 1 to 9 p.m.)
“Our new location is now bordered by conservation land, which was something very important to us. It has the feel of being out in the wetlands, but we’re right in the middle of town. We also have some room to grow, which is nice,” said owner Luke Kemper.
The 13,500-square-foot facility will allow Swamp Head to produce as much as 18,000 barrels of beer a year, up from the current 6,000 barrels. The site also gives the brewery room to expand to a potential 50,000 barrels annually to meet future demand. The brewery will also immediately create six new jobs and hopes to create more than 20 overall as the expansion continues.
Swamp Head opened in 2008, growing quickly from a Gainesville-area favorite to gain a statewide presence with a slogan of “Inherently Floridian.” Its year round beers include Wild Night Honey Cream Ale, Cottonmouth Belgian Witbier, Stump Knocker Pale Ale, Midnight Oil Oatmeal Coffee Stout and Big Nose IPA. The brewery also produces the limited Spasmodic, Migrational and Elusive Reclusive releases.
Swamp Head has invested in a laboratory and other brewing equipment in the new facility at 3650 S.W. 42nd Ave., including a centrifuge to filter out unwanted yeast.
The Wetlands will not only be bigger, but it will also provide visitors with more amenities, including two separate bars, a designated growler filling station, 30 beer taps and larger restrooms. The tasting room will add games, weekly events and larger community events to its entertainment lineup in 2015.
The brewery strived to hire local companies for the work involved in repurposing the old Alley Katz bowling alley space.
Working with Solar Impact of Gainesville, Swamp Head will be the first brewery in Florida to have a portion of its operations solar powered, an effort it will continue to expand.
Gainesville based Scherer Construction was the general contractor for the brewery construction. The 30-barrel (930 gallon) brew system was supplied by JVNW of Oregon. Goodwin Lumber of Gainesville provided the reclaimed Florida hardwood cladding for The Wetlands.
A grand opening celebration scheduled for Feb. 21 from 1 to 9 p.m. will include a ribbon cutting, a tree planting and an array of food trucks.