The Nebraska Brewing Co. is about to get much, much bigger.
Sometime this summer, the restaurant and brewery at Shadow Lake Towne Center in Papillion will open a new, $1.5 million production facility that includes a canning operation, co-owner and Vice President Kim Kavulak said.
Shortly after, the brewery plans to release four of its most popular beers — Brunette Nut Brown Ale, EOS Hefeweizen, Cardinal Pale Ale, and India Pale Ale — in cans, she said. Eventually, the new location will also include a tasting room and retail space.
The original brewpub will remain open in its current location, 7474 Towne Center Parkway. Kavulak said the company has not yet nailed down an exact location for the new facility, though she said she expected it would be in Sarpy County.
New equipment set to arrive in late June or early July will give the company the ability to drastically increase its beer production. Last year, she said, the company produced 1,550 barrels of beer. Once the new equipment is in place, Kavulak said, the Nebraska Brewing Co. plans to increase its production to 8,000 barrels a year and will have the capacity to produce 50,000 barrels a year.
The company currently employs about 35 people, she said, including wait staff, management and two brewers. She said she expected the expansion would create five to eight new brewery jobs.
Kavulak said plans for the expansion have been in place for several years. When the company opened the brewpub in 2007, the original plan was to be just that — a brewpub. But after the economy slowed, Kavulak said the firm began looking at distribution. Currently, the Nebraska Brewing Co. distributes beer in 11 states, she said.
Most of its products currently are available only in kegs, though some reserve, barrel-aged beers are available in bottles. Those reserves will still be available in bottles, Kavulak said, and the new facility will include a bottling line, as well. But most products will be available in 12-ounce cans.
Kavulak said the company decided to focus on cans at the new production facility for a number of reasons, including cost, weight and trends in craft beer.
“Some of the biggest craft beer breweries are turning to cans,” she said.
Kavulak said the first cans of Nebraska Brewing Co. beer could be available as soon as July.
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