Sacramento’s burgeoning craft brew scene remains on the fast track, with another local brewer announcing a major expansion on Tuesday.
Track 7 Brewing Co., which launched in Sacramento in late 2011, has signed a 10-year lease for a 35,000-square-foot facility in Natomas that will significantly increase its production capabilities and house its marketing, accounting and general business offices. An indoor-outdoor tasting room is planned, including a 1,600-square-foot patio area.
The new facility is at 826 Professor Lane, Suite 100, off Del Paso Road, east of Sleep Train Arena. The brewery expects to open its renovated facility in December.
Track 7 will continue to operate its popular 5,000-square-foot tasting and brewing facility near Sacramento City College, at 3747 W. Pacific Ave. But that site will undergo changes in its production lines.
Co-owner Ryan Graham said the existing facility will be retooled for “pilot batching” and production of sour beer, which has varying levels of tartness. Historically, sour beers have been popular in Europe but are gaining popularity among North American craft brewers.
“Now, we can take more risks and start pushing our creative boundaries,” Graham said in a statement announcing the new facility. “Demand for our beers is through the roof. As fast as we add new tanks at our Curtis Park facility, that capacity is absorbed. We needed to get ahead of our ability to meet demand for our beer, and this new facility will allow us room to grow.”
Track 7 is an example of the rapid growth in the local craft brew industry over the past five years, as well as nationally. In 2013, U.S. craft beer sales soared more than 17 percent over the prior year to more than 15.3 million barrels, according to the Boulder, Colo.-based Brewers Association.
Last year, craft beer sales totaled $14.3 billion, in an overall beer market of $100 billion.
Since opening in late 2011, Track 7 has rolled from producing 340 barrels of beer a year to nearly 1,200 barrels in 2013. It started with four part-time workers but now has 16 full- and part-time employees.
In February, it signed its first distribution agreement with Sacramento-based Markstein Beverage Co., which provides a single point of distribution for Sacramento, Solano, eastern Yolo, Yuba, Sutter and Napa counties.
The new facility in Natomas will serve as Track 7’s manufacturing, packaging and distribution facility. Overall, Track 7 expects to produce approximately 2,800 barrels of beer this year, much of it the brewery’s “flagship” beer, Panic IPA.
By 2015, production is projected to swell dramatically, tied to hopes of regional expansion.
“Right now, our draft product is limited to a 30-mile radius, and our packaged product to a 70-mile radius,” said co-owner Geoff Scott in a statement. “The Natomas facility will give us an opening capacity of about 8,000 barrels of beer (annually). Our goal has always been to satisfy the Sacramento demand prior to taking on new territory,” including the East Bay and Central Valley markets.
Industry watchers say that the Sacramento region’s craft brew scene is experiencing the kind of growth seen in the Pacific Northwest more than a decade ago.
In August 2012, Rubicon Brewing Co. in Sacramento commenced construction of a new 16,500-square-foot brewery in West Sacramento. The new facility expanded Rubicon’s 2,000-barrels-a-year capacity at its midtown Sacramento site.
In March this year, Auburn Alehouse signed a distribution agreement with Mussetter Distributing to distribute the brewer’s beers in Sacramento, Yolo, El Dorado, Placer, Solano and Nevada counties.
New microbreweries have been sprouting up on a nearly monthly basis during the last five years throughout Northern California. That includes Out of Bounds Brewing Co., which eight months ago opened a 6,700-square-foot brewery and tasting room in a solar-powered building in Rocklin.
Sacramento Beer Week, sponsored in late February by the Northern California Brewers Guild, has grown from a few regional brewers in 2010 to become a major event, with thousands of participants sampling regional craft brews and ciders at events sponsored by restaurants, grocers and brew pubs. This year, Sacramento Beer Week culminated with more than 100 brewers and about 4,000 enthusiasts sampling beers on the Capitol Mall.
“There’s a lot of fun and excitement going on in the Sacramento beer scene,” said Track 7’s Graham in a phone interview. “The quality is just as good as what you’ll find in other regions. I think we’ve been living in the Bay Area’s shadow a little bit, but I think the quality we’re seeing (locally) is getting where more people are taking (Sacramento) seriously.”
Call The Bee’s Mark Glover, (916) 321-1184.