FRANKFORT, Mich –– The beer is flowing at Stormcloud Brewing Company’s new production brewery located on the east side of the city of Frankfort. The 12,759 square-foot facility houses a 20-barrel brewhouse, handcrafted by W.M. Sprinkman Corporation of Waukesha, Wisconsin, with the capacity to brew 4,500 barrels of beer annually. The brewery is also home to a new Craft Canning System, built by Codi Manufacturing, Inc. in Golden, Colorado, with the capacity to fill approximately 40 cans per minute.
In March, Stormcloud began canning its two most popular beers – Rainmaker Ale, a Belgian-style Pale Ale that brought home a bronze medal from Denver’s Great American Beer Festival, and Whiled Away® IPA, a Belgian-style IPA and best seller in Stormcloud’s downtown Frankfort pub.
Six packs of both beers in 12oz cans have been distributed to stores in 11 Michigan counties, including the cities of Traverse City, Manistee and Ludington. As production increases, Stormcloud cans will be distributed north to Petoskey, Cheboygan and Alpena, and south to Muskegon and Grand Rapids.
The increase in beer production capacity at the new brewery has already enabled Stormcloud to expand its keg beer distribution to the greater Grand Rapids area in partnership with West Side Beer Distributing of Grand Rapids. Stormcloud’s current distribution footprint includes 32 counties in Michigan’s lower peninsula.
“I’m proud of our efforts to make great beer that people want to drink,” says co-owner and head brewer Brian Confer. “We’re very excited about the increased capacity at the new facility, both in terms of brewing volume and lab space to continue our push for the best quality beer we can make.”
Designed by Byce & Associates, Inc. of Kalamazoo, the production brewery houses brewing, fermentation, packaging, cold storage, and all shipping and receiving processes. The facility is also home to a brewing laboratory, office space, and public tasting room with merchandise space. The tasting room is scheduled to open to the public Friday, May 25 and will feature an outdoor beer garden similar to Stormcloud’s downtown location.
“We wanted the design of the tasting room and outdoor area to connect visually with our existing pub and restaurant,” says co-owner Rick Schmitt. “So even though we’re across town from the pub, both new guests and long-time customers will feel the connection to Stormcloud’s downtown roots.”
Energy efficiency was also top-of-mind when designing the new brewery, and a number of environmentally friendly systems were put into place at the production facility, including:
- 6.2 kW Solar System with 10 two-panel ground mounted arrays that automatically orient to the sun’s location in the sky. Installed by Traverse Solar of Traverse City.
- Large sections of vertical glass curtain walls and strategically placed skylights in the production area to maximize daylighting.
- All interior lighting is controlled by occupancy sensors and shuts off automatically when vacant.
- All exterior lighting is controlled by photocell and timeclock. Exterior lighting shuts off at dawn.
- All light fixtures are LED, using less than half of the lighting energy (watts per square foot) allowed by the latest energy code.
- Office furnace is 95% efficient (minimum requirement is 80% efficient).
- Office condensing unit is 15 SEER (minimum requirement is 13 SEER).
- Production area gas heaters are 90% plus efficient (minimum requirement is 80%).
- Two electric car charging stations (Tesla and generic). Available summer 2018.
Public tours of Stormcloud’s new production facility will begin this summer. The brewery and tasting room is located at 366 Parkview Lane in Frankfort, Michigan.