Black Raven Brewing celebrated its 2nd Anniversary on Saturday, May 7th. More than 1,300 people attended the “Flock Party” and sampled some amazing beers, ranging from the brewery’s regular lineup to some very rare birds. Yes, CoCo Jones made a brief appearance, as did La Petite Mort and Old Birdbrain. The Farmhouse IPA was perhaps my personal favorite: sour, hoppy, Belgian, Northwest, complex and delicious.
It was an amazing party. If you missed it, I don’t want to rub it in.
Black Raven Spreading its Wings
Since its inception, Black Raven Brewing has needed to expand. When the long anticipated taproom opened two years ago, it was immediately too small. As soon as Black Raven introduced beers like Trickster IPA and its big brother Wisdom Seeker, the demand was so strong they could not produce enough. In the blink of an eye, the upstart brewery earned a reputation for barrel-aged and other specialty brews—beers generally produced in batches too small to meet demand. These are very good problems for a young brewery to have.
Accommodating the Business-End of the Beer Business
If you have tracked the Redmond-based brewery’s meteoric rise to stardom, you should not be surprised to hear that Black Raven is expanding. The tasting room is about to get bigger (again), plans are being drawn-up to add a barrel room, and a brand-new brewhouse is in the works. All this to meet existing demand and facilitate expected growth.
As if that isn’t enough, Black Raven will soon add a small bottling line. Bottles of Black Raven’s specialty beers will be available at the taproom only. They do not have immediate plans to bottle any of the regular beers. Nigel Slater, Sales Manager at Black Raven, tells us that the labels are going to be beautiful. These will be highly coveted bottles, no doubt.
The previous expansion of the taproom was very welcome. This round of expansion will provide even more elbow room—perhaps as much as 500 or 600 more square feet of seating and drinking space. Two new bathrooms come with the expansion, providing much needed relief for the business-end of the beer business, if you know what I mean.
The barrel room will be visible from the taproom. Behind glass, patrons will gaze longingly upon barrels resting in a climate-controlled room. Not just temperature controlled, but humidity controlled as well. Nigel says they will probably provide some fancy lighting and perhaps a diagram of some kind so people know which beers are in which barrels.
Go Big or Go Home Brew
The new brewery will very likely be offsite. Beaux Bowman, owner at Black Raven, says that he is currently looking at bids for a 30-barrel brewhouse and 60-barrel conditioners. He is committed to staying in Redmond, but doesn’t think it possible to squeeze the new, larger brewery into the existing location—the available space for expansion is finite.
Black Raven plans to use the existing brewery as the specialty brewery. The new brewery will most likely be a production-only facility. In other words, Black Raven isn’t going anywhere. It’s just spreading its wings and making noise, as ravens are wont to do.