We’re closing Brewery Ommegang for two weeks in late January 2011. We’ll completely tile the brewhouse and packaging hall as well as make other improvements. Our objectives are improved efficiany, better and faster sanitation, and an enhanced ability to grow. Increased demand has seen our brewing schedule literally double in the past 14 months. While we’re delighted with the growth, we now need some additions, improvements, and renovations to allow brewing and packaging to run more efficiently.
You may know that Duvel brewed some Hennepin, Abbey and Three Philosophers for us back in 2007/08, while we dealt with production issues centered around upgrading our aging bottling line. We were uncertain how people would respond, but quickly discovered that serious beer folks were comparing the beers to see if they could detect any differences. It turned out to be an interesting and enjoyable exercise. Duvel, of course, has impeccable brewing skills and facilities and did a bang-up job filling in for us last time. We expect nothing less this time. Our brewmaster Phil Leinhart and Duvel’s Hedwig Neven will stay in close touch throughout the process while Duvel brews Abbey Ale and Hennepin, which will probably appear on shelves in April at the earliest.
While the tiling and other interior changes are made we’ll also be installing two exterior 360hl unitanks in early February, bringing us to a total of eight. I’m looking out the window at the just completed footings. Also, our store and tasting room will move out of the brewhouse to a dedicated new building about 100 feet from the brewery. This new 4000 sq.ft. building will house an expanded store and tasting area as well as a huge new indoor/outdoor bar and patio, and ta-da! The long-threatened restaurant: Cafe Ommegang. We expect the store move to be in mid-to-late Jan, and that the cafe will be open in late Feb/early March, depending on permits from the NY State Liquor Authority. The interior finishing in the store/bar/cafe is going on right now.
All in all, it’s an extraordinarily exciting time at Ommegang. We’re preparing for continuing growth and brewing more fantastic (and some new) beers. Including a Chouffe collaboration beer, tentatively named Gnomegang, coming out in April. Yes, you read it first right here.