track 7 to open new taproom in natomas on new year's eve
This Q&A is brought to you by Sacramento Beer Week 2015 SBW2015: February 26th - March 8th
Track 7 Brewing Co. on the verge of their 3rd Anniversary, is bridging the gap and expanding their ever popular brand of brews from Sacramento's Curtis Park neighborhood, north to Natomas. Beers In Sac met up with the ambitious, yet down-to-earth Co-Owner's, Ryan Graham and Geoff Scott, to talk about their expansion, and the progress on their new Taproom and Production Facility.
Q - What led to the expansion of Track 7 Brewing Co.?
A - Our original business plan called for us being able to produce about 5,000 bbls annually out of Curtis Park with the idea that it would accommodate an updated brewhouse and cellar system in the future. That anticipated a 24 hour production schedule with mostly 30bbl fermenters. However, space became an issue and the labor inefficiency of brewing that many bbls, 7bbls at a time was projecting to be highly inefficient/non-cost effective. Plus, to make the infrastructure improvements to (gas, water, sewer) to make that amount of beer was daunting while trying to stay open and operating our existing taproom. Further, Markstein's acquisition of our distribution rights in Sacramento further bumped us up against our capacity. So a little over a year ago we started looking into new brewery options and shortly after Sacramento Beer Week 2014 pulled the trigger.
Q - How's the progress on your taproom and production facility?
A - As of 12/13/14 we are more than 50% complete with construction of the entire project. The taproom is about 85% and should be operational in time for a soft opening on our 3rd Anniversary on 12/31/14. Production should start rolling out by end of January.
Q - What's the square footage of the taproom? Square footage of the production facility?
A - Total square footage is 36,000 sq ft inside the building with another 4,000 sq ft of landscaped patio. (The production area is about 32,000 sq ft of it and the inside taproom is about 4,000 sq ft.)
Q - Why did you select Natomas for your expansion?
A - We wanted to continue operating in Sacramento. While technically in the County of Sacramento, it is in the Sacramento sphere of influence. Additionally, there is a significant employment and residential population north of I-80 that has largely been ignored during our most recent craft beer explosion in the greater Sacramento Metro area. Further, we wanted a more modern industrial building that would allow a tremendous amount of expansion with minimal additional investment in utilities and it had ceiling heights that could accommodate our planned tank farm. Professor Lane meets all of our objectives.
Q - How have Natomas residents and businesses responded to you guys moving in?
A - Since announcing our expansion plans in Natomas, we have received nothing but kind words and positive feelings from the area. The politicians, chamber, neighboring businesses and residents have all been very receptive.
Q - The big question that everyone wants to know, when is the taproom open for business?
A - We'll be soft opening the taproom, pending receipt of our ABC license, on our anniversary 12/31/14. We'll start the rollout slowly, probably only opening Thursday, Friday and Saturday during the soft opening. We are planning the big Grand Opening during the weekend before or kicking off Sacramento Beer Week 2015. We are not completely sure of the official grand opening day quite yet.
Q - And do you have any planned events?
A - We don't have any official planned events yet, but definitely wanted to tie our Anniversary into Natomas in some manner. The tentative idea is something from 12-4pm with brewery tours every hour. Then the balance of our anniversary will take place in Curtis Park.
Q - What will be the taproom days and hours of operation?
A - During the soft opening we are looking at Thu., Fri. and Sat. as days of operation. Hours will probably be consistent with Curtis Park: Thu. 3-9, Fri. 3-9 and Sat. 12-9. Once production has ramped up, Natomas should be open 7 days a week.
Q - How many beers on tap will be offered?
A - We will strive to have all of our 6 regulars on at all times in Natomas as well as 3-4 special releases shipped up from Curtis Park. We are not sure about bringing any of the Brett/Lacto/Pedio beers, but who knows. It may happen.
Q - You mentioned private brewery tours earlier, can you provide details?
A - With the new brewery, we wanted to offer more thorough and regularly scheduled tours to the public. They will be guided by members of our staff and include some beer tasting as a part of it. As of now, the thought is 2-3 tours of 10 people each, per Saturday and expand them as there is sufficient interest. We'll make our brewery tour info more fully known as Natomas' operations ramp up.
Q - Any plans for the outdoor space?
A - We'll be opening our 4,000 sq ft landscaped patio immediately with the intention of doing more work to include shade structures and additional trees by late spring. Right now there is grass and a few trees but we want to add a few more. We also intend to convert our existing fixed glass store fronts into rollup bays so that when the weather is nice we can create a seamless interior and exterior environment at the property.
Q - When will the production facility be up and running?
A - We are intending to begin operations by middle of January 2015 with new product available toward the end of January. We'll have the two 60bbl fermenters and a 60bbl brite to start and some 120bbl tanks and a brite are scheduled for a June delivery at this time.
Q - When and where do you plan on expanding distribution?
A - We are in the process of finalizing three distribution agreements for territories surrounding Sacramento. We just signed with the new Markstein/NorCal Beverage to handle all of our territory east of Roseville/El Dorado Hills to the California state line. We are finalizing our agreement with Delta Sierra Beverage on 12/17 to handle Stockton, Modesto and Merced and finally working with Barone Distribution in Reno to begin moving product to northern Nevada. If we find the right distribution partners we intend to have the Bay Area fully covered by mid 2015.
Q - Describe the "open concept" at the taproom and production facility?
A - It's really about turning the patio and tasting room into a seamless environment taking full advantage of our awesome weather in Sacramento. We will also have all the heating and cooling systems in place up front to help smooth the highs and low temps out. It is still a warehouse, so it won't be perfect but it will be more perfect than when we opened Curtis Park. There are no walls only a custom metal fence surrounding the tasting room so customers will have a wide open view of the brewhouse, cellar and packaging lines. They will be able to watch all aspects of the brewing process while enjoying a pint.
Q - How will this location be different than your current location?
A - Natomas is designed from the ground up to handle expansion. Everything from glycol piping, to pre-piping our second boiler, to the future 4th and 5th brewing vessels to PLC units capable of full automation is geared for expansion. We learned our lessons in Curtis Park. But, Curtis Park remains our soul. It is about the innovation and creativity that inspired us to brew in the first place. We are really excited about rolling out our first barrel fermented sour that was brewed back in September as well as our Brett fermented blonde brewed in August. We've been so focused on making Panic IPA that we haven't been able to really churn out the new products we have mapped out.
Q - And what are your plans for Sacramento Beer Week 2015?
A - Right now, surviving construction . . . lol. Honestly, we haven't talked about anything related to Sacramento Beer Week yet. We need to get on that don't we :)
Q - On a more personal note, what beer(s) do you have in your fridge right now?
A - Ryan Graham: Right now, my fridge is stocked with our Sierra Nevada Beer Camp IPL that we got to help brew. It's named Neo-Lexicanus if you happen across one or more of the kegs that get released.
A - Geoff Scott: Right now my fridge is packed with Lagunitus Brown Shugga and Cascade sours.
Track 7 Brewing Co.'s new Taproom and Production Facility are located at: 826 Professor Lane, Suite 100, Sacramento, CA 95834. Sign up for Beers In Sac's email newsletter to get updates on the planned Track 7 - Natomas soft opening on 12/31/14.