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This article was published 9/7/2010 (3928 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
THE (pint) glass may have been half full at Half Pints Brewing, but now it's overflowing.
The Winnipeg-based microbrewery has just installed a pair of 40-barrel tanks, which will increase its capacity by nearly 50 per cent.
"What used to take us a week to brew will now take us two days in one tank. We used to have four single-batch fermenting tanks. These are quadruple-sized tanks. They're 4,000 litres each," said David Rudge, brewmaster at Half Pints.
The new tanks boost the brewery's capacity to 8,000 hectolitres a year, or nearly 100,000 two-fours. That's up from 1,500 hectolitres or about 18,000 two-fours when Half Pints started up nearly four years ago.
"If we're going to keep the quality of the beer the same and not filter it, it takes a little longer, so you need a few more tanks to do it. We have to spend a little more money on tanks and more time on the brewing process, but in the end, it's worth it," he said.
Rudge said the brewery's second expansion in less than two years will be critical in helping it keep up with demand, particularly during the busy summer beer-drinking season.
"We were at the point where the demand was outstripping our capacity again. The new tanks will help keep up for the next year. If they don't, we'll have to buy two more tanks," he said.
Rudge said Half Pints is preparing to launch a new seasonal beer this month called Rigamarole Rye, which uses rye in the brewing process and has been aging in oak barrels for the last six months.
Although it's not unusual for Half Pints to come up with seasonal recipes periodically, Rudge said he plans to increase their frequency.
"Some are more intense or expensive to produce or wouldn't have the same kind of market (as our traditional beers). We sell them from the brewery for one day. We'll put it on our website a couple of weeks in advance and the people who are honest-to-goodness Half Pints fans know they have to be here that morning or it will sell out," he said.
"We're not a huge brewery. We're not going to make thousands and thousands of litres of specialty beers to sell."
It recently made 1,000 litres of another one-off production, Black IPA. The lineup outside the St. James brewery on the day it was available was nearly 100 people deep.
"We limited sales to one case per person. It was pretty crazy," Rudge said.
He said his goal is to grow the company in a deliberate manner with support from his core group of shareholders. He said there are absolutely no plans to follow in the footsteps of Fort Garry Brewing and take the company public.
"We have no want or need to go to public offerings," he said.