May 7, 2018

Tree House Brewing plans 16K-square-foot expansion

TreeHouse Brewing Co. in Charlton regularly has hours-long lines for its beer.

Craft beer maker Tree House Brewing Co. announced Sunday evening a planned 16,000-square-foot expansion of its 52,000-square-foot headquarters in Charlton.

The brewery moved from Monson to its current location last July to accommodate the long lines of beer drinkers waiting to get their share of its colorful cans. The new facility still attracts large crowds looking to buy limited quantities of beer, and the expansion is meant to enhance the customer experience.

The new 16,000 square feet will include brewery operations and retail space, a number of open pergolas and landscaping, and a second bar about double the size of the existing bar to service customers inside and outside.

A second bar increases the potential for servicing growlers, the brewery said. A new can sale area will be above the canning line.

"The new can sale area will be above our canning line, where guests will be able to take in the beautiful sights, sounds, and smells of fresh beer coming off of the Tree House canning line in a uniquely intimate experience that blurs the line between retail and the production floor," wrote co-founder Nate Lanier, the author of the announcement.

Lanier wrote the idea for relocating the can sales area will enable the brewery to route guests around the outdoor pavilion, where the brewery plans to construct a timber awning to protect guests from the elements in the scenario a line should form, which happens on almost a daily basis.

Another added benefit of relocating and expanding the can sale area is the potential to offer drafts during all open hours. Currently, drafts are only offered a handful of hours each week.

Part of the project is a private function room and a large open public space about twice the size of the existing retail shop.

The brewery, on 68 acres of land, will soon open a series of new trails co-founder Damien Goudreau has been constructing with his father. The trails - for mountain bikers or walkers - connect to neighboring Capen Hill Wildlife Sanctuary.

More plans include an orchard of fruit trees, curating the brewery's own beehives and opening about five acres for hop fields and open space.

Commitment to sustainability

The brewery's rapid growth is necessitating a number of dramatic steps to be more energy efficient, Lanier wrote. Within two years, the brewery plans to generate 40 percent of its energy needs through onsite renewables and 100 percent within five years.

According to Lanier, the brewery has pledged to reduce the amount of harmful elements it discharges into the town's wastewater system to below that of a standard household within two years. The brewery now uses about three gallons of water to produce one gallon of beer, below the global average of five gallons.

New varieties of beer

In its new space, the brewery introduced new beers and has taken previously limited release beers and has made them more available. The brewery is working with more consistent, hand-selected raw materials, allowing the brewery's week-to-week variety to expand on what the brewery previously provided, according to Lanier's post.

New beer is on the way, Lanier said.

"Other projects, in the works for nearly six years, will soon begin to bear fruit. The flexibility of two large production breweries will afford us the opportunity to frequently introduce new offerings and produce challenging beers of great complexity, skill, time, and depth of character that would have been impossible just a year ago," he wrote.

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