Caldera Brewing Company constructing new brewery

The Caldera Tap House has been a popular music venue and social hub for Southern Oregon University students for years, producing widely-distributed award-winning beers and specializing in locally made products. As a result of their success, the company has decided to take the next big step, vamping up production through the construction of a new brewery.

Caldera Brewing Company recently broke ground on their new development project, an expansion to replace their current brewery. The new brewery is located at 590 Clover Lane, and will stand 41 feet tall upon completion with 28,000 square feet of space. The construction is expected to cost roughly $5 million to complete, and will include warehouse storage, administrative offices, production and distribution centers, administrative offices, and a restaurant and tasting room.

The expansion has been in the planning stages for roughly two years, and was approved by the Ashland Planning Commission in January and the Ashland City Council in March. Although the 3.72 acres being developed was previously zoned for residential use, it was added to the city and rezoned for the construction. The city council unanimously supported the project, citing the company’s dedication to the environment and the jobs that would be created by the project.

The company’s current 6,000 square foot Water Street brewery employs 10 people. The company is planning on employing between 15 and 18 new employees to work in the larger brewery in addition to the 10 who work in the tap house, which Caldera does not intend to close.

According to Jim Mills, president of Caldera Brewing Company., the decision to expand during a tough economy was a simple response to supply and demand.

“We cannot make enough beer to supply our distributors,” he said. With the expansion, however, the company is hoping to expand their product line to include non-alcoholic sodas and distilled spirits.

With strong roots in the Ashland community, the company is also taking steps to conserve and protect the environment, both during construction and afterwards. Some of these modifications include the use of day lighting in the building, bulk grain silos to eliminate the need for bagging malt, the protection of steam during construction, composting of all grain, hops, and filter sheets, the recycling of hop bags, energy efficient lighting and air handling, and a glycol piping system for refrigeration.

The development is expected to be completed in March 2012, and will open for tours and beer tastings.

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