Monday, August 26, 2013

Exclusive: Meadowlark Brewing Company Coming to Sidney Montana

To add to Montana’s growing list of forthcoming breweries, Meadowlark Brewing Company is looking to open in Sidney, Montana, as soon as possible. Renovation and construction will begin in September, but the brewery is also currently seeking a brewmaster.*

Founder, Travis Peterson, recently spoke to us at Montana Beer Finder about his upcoming project.

“I was born and raised in Sidney, and I’ve been homebrewing since high school,” says Peterson. “While on a family trip, my parents told me it was time I open my own brewery. We started looking for usable space but it took two-and-a-half years before we could find something. Since the oil boom here property has been hard to come by, especially for a reasonable price.”**

After finding a building at 119 S. Central Avenue, the former Carpenter’s Storehaus and Snowflake Bakery, Peterson lucked into the neighboring building too, the Jock Stop, allowing them twice the space they originally planned for.

During the early renovation stages, Peterson uncovered a few good omens, including a stash of Olympia Brewing cans behind a wall. He also uncovered a few newspapers dating back to 1931, just as Prohibition was repealed.

Olympia Beer Cans

Before moving back to Sidney three years ago to work at the family business, Sidney Red-E-Mix, Peterson spent time working as a civil engineer building bridges in the Bay area, Seattle, and around Sandpoint, Idaho, where he got to know the crew at MickDuff's.***

Meadowlark Brewing Company will operate on a 15-barrel Metalcraft Fabrications brewhouse, a company based in Portland. The system, pictured below, is expected to arrive in early September.

“Originally I wanted a 7.5-barrel brewhouse,” says Peterson, “but after talking with a few other brewers, they suggested at least a 10-barrel system. But then they also pointed out that a 15-barrel system would take up the exact same footprint and save in expansion costs down the road whenever we’d be ready to increase production.”

15-barrel brewhouse

Peterson says he’s planning to brew 500 barrels annually at first and then grow from there.

“I certainly want to get into regional distribution in kegs when it’s feasible,” says Peterson, “and then I’d be open to canning too after that.”

Sidney has already made strong headway into the Montana craft beer scene. It is the host city for the annual Bakken Brew Fest, which has now sold out two years in a row! In April 2013, the Bakken Brew Fest featured more than 40 craft breweries (up from 29 its first year), and tickets ($50 each) sold out quickly.

Boston Bottles Growlettes
Meadowlark Brewing Company’s 32 oz. growlettes, aka. Boston bottles, debuted at the 2nd annual Bakken Brew Fest.

Peterson has applied for a beer and wine license, allowing him to stay open after 8:00 p.m., serve food, and not be limited to 48 ounces daily. But he also plans to make the brewery family-friendly. Seating will be on two floors with the brewery operations in the rear of the building.

“There are a lot of bars here,” he says. “But there aren’t a lot of places where families can dine and drink together. I’ve actually had my architect include a designated kids’ area with a small tree house and games area. The brewery will be very open and well-lit.”

Peterson expects to roll out with a “four-to-five beer lineup,” including a Kolsch and Hefeweizen to appeal to the macro-beer drinkers in the area. Then, hopefully, he can entice them to try a porter or pale ale.

Opening day, according to Peterson, will be 30 days after the first brew day.

*Meadowlark Brewing Company is currently seeking a head brewer. More information about this position, as well as instructions for applying, can be found here.

**Sidney’s population was 5,100 in 2010. Because of the Bakken Oil Boom, the town is expected to gain another 9,000 residents by 2015. Three new hotels opened in 2012 and apartments that rented for $300/month in 2011 are now on the market for up to $2,000/month. The boom’s epicenter, Williston, North Dakota, doubled its population from 12,500 to 25,000 since 2010 and is expected to hit 60,000 in the next three to five years.

***The original article incorrectly listed the brewery as Laughing Dog. The correct brewery is MickDuff's. 

All photos are courtesy Meadowlark Brewing Company and used here by permission.

1 comment:

  1. Love the Eastern Montana breweries...or are they western North Dakota breweries? Either way, it is terrific!


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