Saturday, August 03, 2013

Pic(k) of the Week: Sisson delivers the skinny on Heavy Seas

Sisson describes brewery to Select Wines (01)

The sales staff and management of northern Virginia wine/beer wholesaler Select Wines, Inc. traveled north to Halethorpe, Maryland (just south of Baltimore City), on 30 July 2013, to visit the production facilities of Heavy Seas Brewing.

In the photo above, Hugh Sisson —Heavy Seas' owner and founder— delivered the skinny on the eighteen year old brewery's expansion plans. These include:
  • recent installation of four new tanks, including three 200-barrel tanks.
  • recent installation of a new keg filler, and a new cask washer.
  • a centrifuge to replace the current DE filter, for beer clarification.
  • a new multi-roller mill, for increased yield efficiency.
  • a new KHS packaging line, capable of filling 16,500 bottles per hour, nearly doubling the current rate.
  • expanded lab facilities, including state-of-the-art analytical devices.
  • a much larger cold room for refrigerated storage of packaged case, kegs, and casks (at 54 °F).
  • increase in barrel-aging program, including rum barrels for a new winter beer.
  • a threefold expansion of the plant itself, including a new hospitality room and outside beer garden.
  • a new 100-barrel brewhouse, twice the size of the current kettle kit, to be installed in 2014.
Sisson noted that Heavy Seas distributes its beer in 18 states, along the east coast, and a few in the mid-west. That number has remained constant for a few years, as the brewery has concentrated on increasing availability within that sales "footprint." At the same time, production has increased. Sisson revealed that Heavy Seas brewed more than 32,000 barrels of beer in 2012, a three-fold growth over 2008, four years earlier, when the brewery's output had been about 13,000 barrels. He expects production to approach 50,000 barrels this year, and greater yet within a couple of years.

  • A barrel is not a physical thing; it's a unit of volume measurement, 31 gallons, the equivalent of 13.7 cases of 12-ounce bottles of beer.
  • More pics from the tour: here.
  • Pic(k) of the Week: one in a weekly series of personal photos, often posted on Saturdays, and often, but not always, with a good fermentable as a subject. Camera: Olympus Pen E-PL1.
  • Commercial reproduction requires explicit permission, as per Creative Commons.
  • Caveat lector: As a representative for Select Wines, Inc., I sell the beers of Heavy Seas in northern Virginia.

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