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CASTLE MALTING NEWS in partnership with www.e-malt.com Italian
17 January, 2021

Brewing news USA, DE: Dewey Beer Co. opening second location

When you're a small beach brewery that just happens to make the best-rated beers in the state, expansion eventually will become a necessity, The News Journal reported on January 16.

And that's the case with Dewey Beer Co., the 5-year-old Coastal Highway brewery about to open a nearly 10,000-square-foot spinoff production brewery and taproom in Harbeson later this winter.

"Everything was selling out immediately. We just couldn't keep up with anything," says brewery co-founder and co-owner Brandon Smith.

After years of canning beer with a small canning line at the cramped Dewey Beach location, the new site at 18499 Harbeson Road in Kings Landing Business Park will offer a large-scale production area allowing for nearly five times the output. (That's 80 cans per minute!)

During the pandemic, the brewery shifted away from filling kegs to focusing almost entirely on cans for takeout. They also teamed up with Greenwood-based OtherSide Beverage and began distributing a small number of their cans to shops across Delaware and Maryland.

OtherSide will remain as Dewey Beer Co.'s distributor once the production facility is up and running. Smith says Dewey Beer fans soon will find more Dewey brews in more liquor stores across the region.

And that's good news for beer fans with refined palates.

Last year, Delaware Online/The News Journal analyzed Delaware brewery ratings on the popular beer-drinking app Untappd and found Dewey Beer easily beat out No. 2 Dogfish Head with a score of 4.02 over Dogfish's 3.85.

These days, Dewey Beer remains at the top of the heap with a score that's grown to 4.07 since last January. They remain high above the second-place finisher, which is now Wilmington Brew Works with a score of 3.86. (Dogfish places third with 3.84.)

About 90% of the new location will be dedicated to brewing and canning with a small amount of space carved out for a taproom, which will offer about 70 seats, including an outdoor patio.

Unlike the rustic Dewey Beach location with reclaimed wood and a beach cottage feel, Harbeson's spot will have a modern, almost urban feel with bold colors, Smith teases.

Don't expect a bunch of bar games there like some breweries. Instead, there will be acoustic music at times, with the beer as the main draw.

Unlike the Dewey Beach location, which has a sturdy kitchen that pumps out hamburgers, lo mein and entrees such as crab cakes, there is no kitchen in Harbeson. However, patrons will be allowed to bring their own food. Smith hints that meals from a nearby location may one day find a home at the brewery, but didn't offer details.

In terms of the beer, don't expect any major changes. Dewey Beer Co.'s IPAs and sours will still dominate.

Smith expects the smaller canning line in Dewey Beach eventually will be used for more experimental, small-batch offerings.

After first opening in 2015 in a 3,000-square-foot storefront, Dewey Beer Co. has slowly added more space over the years, buying out apartments in the rear and adding to their brewing capacity annually.

Even so, they could never meet demand, even though they have produced nearly 400,000 cans there over the past three years. It felt like they were battling a major blizzard with a toy shovel, even after each expansion.

"We were just overstuffed and could never keep up with the beer," Smith says. "It hit us like a ton of bricks."

It was in 2018 when Smith and his partners first realized the demand for their beer was growing far beyond what they were prepared to handle. By late 2019, the search was on for a spinoff location. They broke ground in March just as the COVID-19 pandemic hit our state.

Even with production about to get a major boost, don't expect to suddenly find all your favorite Dewey Beer Co. flavors in liquor stores. Even with the expansion, shops will likely only receive what isn't sold on site.

"It will still be just our overflow," says Smith, whose brewery lets the beer rankings speak for themselves and doesn't advertise much at all. "We keep a close eye on those rankings. It's one of the best marketing tool we have."

A grand opening date for the new location, which will serve seven days a week, has not yet been announced.


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