It's a little hard to believe, considering all the news from 10 Barrel Brewing Company over the past year, that they're still only going to produce about 25,000 barrels of beer in 2015—a tiny percentage of Deschutes Brewery's output. If current trends continue, though, those numbers might rapidly approach each other soon.
At a press event held at their production facility in northeast Bend, founders Jeremy and Chris Cox revealed what's been going on since their sale to Anheuser Busch-InBev last November. To sum up, it's been a lot. Blessed with the equivalent of an eccentric rich uncle bankrolling them—a.k.a. Andy Goeler, CEO of craft beer ops at InBev—the Cox brothers have been aggressively investing, building a brand-new quality control lab, and expanding distribution from the Northwest to California, Colorado, and parts of Nevada. Production at the current plant will eventually max out at 70,000 barrels a year, and—as predicted in this column a year ago—10 Barrel's also borrowing some of InBev's hardware, jointly brewing this year's batch of Pray for Snow at the Budweiser facility in Fort Collins, Colorado. (Don't expect this to be the norm, though—as brewmaster Jimmy Seifrit explained, Bud's mega-plants aren't set up to brew hop-forward beers very well.)
To further fuel this expansion, 10 Barrel plans to build a new production facility adjacent to their current one in Bend, in what's now a vacant lot. The 50,000-square foot plant, which will also feature a tasting room, will eventually expand their capacity to 120,000 barrels, or approximately the amount Deschutes sold in 2005. Another brewpub location is set to open in Denver soon, and Jeremy also discussed plans to expand the pub business into California sometime in the future. (The much-delayed rooftop deck in the Portland location is still in the works, too, with an opening slated for spring 2016.)
These are all fancy numbers, of course, but what about the beer? There's heady news on that front, too: Starting next April, 10 Barrel will start releasing their Crush line of sour, fruity beers—the brainchild of research brewer Tonya Cornett—in clear 11-ounce stubby bottles, starting with Cucumber Crush and later moving on with raspberry, lemon, and strawberry varieties. Cornett also announced plans to release a cider next spring as well, a project she's been working on for the past two years; expect it to be dry and, as Cornett put it, "as approachable as possible".