Bloomington-based Upland Brewing Co. is making a major investment in sour ale production. The brewer has begun construction on a $4 million expansion, which will include a new cellar building additional tanks and another bottling line revolving around the longer-fermenting variety. Upland says the project is expected to be up and running by April.
The company has been brewing sour-style beers for a decade and has gained a significant following through its lottery system for the varieties created in small batches. Upland says limited wholesale distribution of sour ales will begin next year, but the lottery for more limited runs will continue.
President, Doug Dayhoff says "we aim for multi-dimensional, complex beers that express the interaction of grains, fruits, and different microbes, all managed with a high degree of patience and time. Ten years of exploring the sour space has taught us so much. But we learn new aspects of the process every year. In 2016 Upland will begin limited wholesale distribution of certain sour ales. However, ultra-small batch beers will continue to be available only via a lottery system directly from the brewery. While this expansion will increase our production by several multiples, we’re still talking about very small and limited production volumes, only 2,000 barrels.
Upland’s sour program had humble beginnings. The company says in 2006, it traded eight cases of beer for four white oak barrels from Bloomington’s Oliver Winery. Production continued to grow and the company’s goal has been to release 20 different sour ales by year’s end.
Upland says many of its beers are created with fruit from local farms.
The plans include additional employees, as well as new equipment such as piping to connect the sour facility to the main operation.