Nestled in Kalamazoo’s Milwood neighborhood is a local brewery named One Well Brewing. When you pull into the parking lot of a small strip mall you may be unsure of what to expect. Once you step inside, however, you’ll find yourself surrounded by locals and visitors of the friendly neighborhood enjoying great beer while playing cards and board games. You may also notice that all of the brewery’s guests are being distracted away from their devices by the great atmosphere One Well provides for its patrons.
Since One Well opened their doors in November of 2014, co-owners Chris O’Neill and T.J. Waldofsky have created a brewery with a great reputation. They want to work together with the other local breweries to provide their city with some of the most delicious craft beer in Michigan.
As O’Neill explained, “Kalamazoo is a destination for beer now and we’re part of that destination experience.”
Open for less than 2 years, One Well has already exceeded their volume expectations. As a result, they have decided to expand to a system that can brew five times as much as their current 3-barrel system. This expansion is requiring One Well to invest in a new production facility in Kalamazoo.
The expansion will allow them to brew and house more of their popular beers without taking away from opportunity for new creations. One Well has also found a way to use the expansion to diversify their cooperative relationship with the other local breweries.
“If we can take the cooperativeness to the next level, we’re not only going to help everybody else, we’re going to help ourselves,” Waldofsky said as he described the plans for their new development.
After always being limited to brewing small batches of their essential beers and constantly lacking storage space, One Well plans to fully utilize their new facility and its new 15-barrel system.
One Well would like to try to provide small breweries the opportunity to rent their large brew system, allowing them to brew their popular beers on a larger scale. These breweries would also have the option to warehouse their beer at One Well’s brewing facility.
“As cooperative as everyone is already, if you have the capacity to let someone else use your equipment as well, it seems like something you would want to do. If we’re going to share hops and grains anyway, we might as well share tanks too. And we should have plenty of extra space to work with at the new facility. So in the off time when we’re not using our system, if we can offer it out to someone else, it seems like that would benefit.” said O’Neill.
Now after being open for over a year and a half, One Well Brewing has surpassed their expectations and continue to make a name for themselves in the area. They have grown to become a diverse and cooperative brewery with the intentions to brew great beer and create a great place for both locals and visitors of Kalamazoo.
Photography: Steph Harding