MIDDLEBURG HEIGHTS — Fat Head’s Brewery, one of Ohio’s biggest and fastest-growing craft breweries, after many months of planning and preparation, broke ground on a new production facility Tuesday, July 25 in Middleburg Heights. The building, about a mile down the road from its existing facility, is situated on eight acres near the Bagley Road interchange on I-71, was developed by Interstate 71 Partners and will be erected by GeisConstruction. Fat Head’s initially will occupy 75,000 of 125,000 square feet of the space — 40,000 more square feet than their current location on Sheldon Road. In addition to Fat Head’s principals and representatives, Middleburg Heights Mayor, Gary Starr and other community leaders were in attendance to participate in the ceremony and celebration.
Founded 25 years ago by craft beer enthusiast Glenn Benigni as a restaurant/saloon in Pittsburgh, in 2009, Fat Head’s expanded through a partnership with Cleveland-area Brewmaster Matt Cole with a flagship brewpub in North Olmsted. With distinctive, top-quality beers, a playful brand identity and humorous beer names, the brewery is dedicated to standing apart in an increasingly crowded craft beer industry. Fat Head’s can also proudly boast of being Ohio’s most award-winning brewery, with 19 Great American Beer Festival medals and 6 World Beer Cup medals since its founding. The overwhelming local and critical success is a big reason for the need for the new facility: the company reached maximum capacity at its current location in only 8 short years.
With the expanded brewery, Fat Head’s has the potential to double its production capacity immediately, with space to grow. “Eventually we could hit 125,000 barrels per year by adding more tanks,” said Benigni. Fat Head’s current distribution area includes Ohio and of Indiana and Pennsylvania. The new operation will give them the capacity to fill out their present sales territory and open up in some new markets. The expansion will also create 74 new jobs.
As Cole puts it, “We want to be a seen as craft beer destination. This new building gives us that opportunity.” Several 32 foot tall fermentation tanks, along with marquee signage, will be visible from I-71. In addition to a state-of-the-art custom brewhouse from Germany, the new facility will also include a new bottling and packaging operation, distribution center, plus a full-scale, 250-seat bar and restaurant. Visitors to the restaurant will be immersed in the brewing activity. There will also be self-guided tours.
“This expansion is very exciting for us. We’re growing our Fat Head’s family and getting our beer to more people. We couldn’t be happier,” says Cole. Fat Head’s existing production facility and Tap House on Sheldon Road will close upon completion of the new building. The Brewpub in North Olmsted will not be affected. The new production facility will be located at 17450 Engle Lake Drive in Middleburg Heights. Fat Head’s also has plans to open a brewpub in Canton, OH in late 2017.
About Fat Head’s — Opened in 1992 as Pittsburgh, PA’s premier craft beer bar and restaurant, Fat Head’s teamed up with head brewmaster Matt Cole in 2009 to create Fat Head’s Brewery & Saloon just outside of Cleveland, OH. In response to overwhelming demand, a production facility was opened in 2012. Fat Head’s Brewery distributes three core beers and a range of seasonal offerings throughout Ohio, Pennsylvania and Indiana. Fat Head’s also operates a 300 seat brewpub in the heart of Portland, OR.
This article originally appeared on craftbeer.com