‘We want to be there’: BrewBilt Manufacturing to expand into brewing | TheUnion.com

‘We want to be there’: BrewBilt Manufacturing to expand into brewing

BrewBilt’s Jef Lewis, left, and partner Ben Buchanan stand in their workshop where customers’ orders are being built. After years of constructing brewing equipment for others, the company has decided to go into the brewing business for itself with a new brewery in the works.
Photo: Elias Funez

In a move the company’s president, Jef Lewis, says seemed inevitable, BrewBilt Manufacturing is preparing to open its own brewery, BrewBilt Brewing.

“We’ve been building brewery equipment for commercial breweries for seven years now, and so … the talk of actually opening our own brewery just in the last year has gotten heavier and heavier,” said Lewis on the decision to expand the company’s scope.

BrewBilt, whose manufacturing operation is currently located at 110 Spring Hill Drive in Grass Valley, will be building its brewery in the same building.

Lewis added that the expansion would serve not only to showcase their manufacturing side, but also push the company’s name further into the world while still working within an area where it has a lot of existing knowledge.

On the company’s manufacturing side, Lewis said the business has “definitely picked back up” this year.

“Breweries are expanding,” said Lewis. “I think that they were holding off all last year, and all of a sudden, there’s been kind of an explosion.”

Ben Buchanan, the company’s head of sales and marketing, explained that BrewBilt’s upcoming brewing operation is intended to take three forms: contract brewing, white label brewing, and its own line of BrewBilt-branded beer.

“Contract brewing is a service that not that many breweries offer, and there is demand out there for breweries that are growing really quickly, so that’s another thing we thought we could provide for the industry,” said Buchanan. He explained that, in these cases, an existing brewery whose demand was exceeding their own brewing capacity would contract BrewBilt to brew more of a beer that brewery was already producing.

In white label brewing, on the other hand, Buchanan said a client such as a bar or restaurant would choose from a selection of BrewBilt’s own recipes, which it would brew, and the client would then simply be authorized to serve the beer out of a tap handle labeled with the name of their own establishment.

That arrangement, said Buchanan, “strengthens (the client’s) brand as a craft beer loving establishment, and hopefully their customers will identify with that.”

Ben Buchanan and Jef Lewis show off the space of their new brewery business being constructed off Spring Hill Drive. The location won’t be open to the public, though the duo plan on having a tasting room in the future.
Photo: Elias Funez

Buchanan said BrewBilt is currently undergoing the design permitting process for the brewery, is starting to work on manufacturing its own equipment, and hopes to be “up and brewing” by the end of the year.

While BrewBilt will not serve beer onsite at the brewery — at least, according Buchanan, until a potential expansion phase a few years down the line — the company’s current plan is to pursue sales through local grocery stores, bars, and restaurants — in addition to online sales.

“Anywhere in Grass Valley (or) Nevada City with craft beer, we want to be there,” said Buchanan.

Victoria Penate is a staff writer for The Union. She can be reached at vpenate@theunion.com

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