Clifton Park will soon be the production home for an acclaimed line of craft beers out of California. Shmaltz Brewing Co. announced Friday its plans to open its own microbrewery in the fast-growing town.
The news is a break in tradition for the San Francisco-based contract brewing company, which has relied on a Saratoga Springs brewery to produce its award-winning HE’BREW beer and Coney Island Craft Lagers for the past 16 years.
Shmaltz, founded in 1996 by Jeremy Cowan, became well known for its creative beers and use of Jewish pop culture and history on its logos and artwork. Last year, the company grossed $3.9 million in sales, a 42 percent increase over 2011.
As a contract brewer, Shmaltz handled all of the beer’s marketing, sales and distribution, but left the brewing and packaging of its famous lines up to the folks at Olde Saratoga Brewing Co.’s facility in Saratoga Springs. The company’s relationship with Saratoga County helped pave the way toward opening its own microbrewery and begin transferring all of its production in-house. Just last week, the first stainless kettles were delivered to the company’s new 22,000-square-foot warehouse at Exit 10.
“The Shmaltz tribe honors these contract brewing roots while embracing the miracle of new life in Clifton Park, New York — envisioning its expansion as a 50-barrel playground for brewing exceptional specialty beers and hosting a growing family of enthusiastic consumers at its new home,” read an announcement on its website.
Shmaltz will brew its first batch in late April, and begin packaging its beers in May and June. By mid-to-late summer, it expects to produce 100 percent of its lines at the 50-barrel facility, which was built on spec by developer Mark Rekucki, owner of M.J. Properties of Clifton Park Inc. It also includes a 1,700-square-foot tasting room and about 800 square feet of office space.
The $3.25 million production facility will create about a dozen new jobs, and was financed through Ballston Spa National Bank, the New York Business Development Corp. and San Francisco-based Wells Fargo Bank. Middle Grove-based Munter Enterprises is the contractor up-fitting the facility with a custom-made five-vessel manual workhorse brewhouse, as well as eight fermentation and two bright beer tanks that were manufactured in Oregon. Brewery tours will be available to the public throughout the year.
“Kudos to the town of Clifton Park for offering predictability and a business friendly environment for Shmaltz,” read a statement issued Friday by the Saratoga Economic Development Corporation.
Shmaltz will package 12- and 22-ounce bottles and kegs of its core and seasonal lines with a new 120-bottle-per-minute packaging line, and continue to explore barrel-aging projects with its current inventory of more than 300 bourbon, rye whiskey and tequila barrels.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held late next month or in early May, with an official grand-opening bash on July 7. Specific details will be announced soon.