Motor City Brewery Works is in the midst of growing its production, footprint and staff this year and is poised for some even bigger gains in the not-too-distant future.
The Midtown Detroit-based microbrewery has taken over space in the warehouse on the other side of Canfield Street, across from Traffic Jam & Snug. It has also upgraded its bottling equipment and is aiming to raise is production by a few thousand barrels. The craft brewery has also recently hired two brewery workers, expanding its workforce to 22 people. It also plans to hire another new person in June and two more later this summer.
"I don't see it as growth," says Daniel Scarsella, co-owner of Motor City Brewery Works
. "It's the potential that we never achieved."
Motor City Brewery Works is one of the oldest microbreweries in Michigan, setting up shop in the spring of 1994. It has become a fixture in the greater downtown Detroit community over the years with its eclectic tap room and signature English ale, Ghettoblaster. Scarsella came onboard as a partner six years ago when it was just the current co-owners working there. That set in motion an systematic expansion that emphasized quality and slow-but-sure gains.
The brewery has never owned a new piece of brewing equipment until it bought a $250,000 bottling machine this spring. The previous bottler was a hodgepodge of other bottling machines that barely worked, caused a lot of breakage and only filled 12 bottles per minute. The new bottler is much more energy-efficient, ensures a better pour of beer in each bottle and triples the production time. Newly installed windows facing the Green Alley
will allow passersby to view the bottling process.
New equipment like this and other upgrades to the brewery should allow Scarsella and his team to move from two brewing days per week to four days per week. The microbrewery currently produces 1,800 barrels of beer annually and the company's management has its eyes set on 5,000 barrels per year by the end of next year.
"We should be able to increase capacity by 25 percent just from the bottling machine," Scarsella says.
For years Motor City Brewery Works was relegated to selling its beer out of its tap room and a handful of other local bars. Now the craft brewery has signed deals to expand its distribution across the region and even to other select retailers across the state.
Scarsella is also looking at moving a lot of the brewery's storage needs to a few thousand square feet in the warehouse across the street to make room for brewing and bottling at the tap room building. A bigger production facility apart from the tap room might also be in the cards a few years down the road.
Source: Daniel Scarsella, co-owner of Motor City Brewery Works
Writer: Jon Zemke
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