Four Peaks Brewery

The Four Peaks Brewing Co. will open a second production facility in its hometown of Tempe to meet growing demand for its craft brews.

The new site allows Four Peaks to double its annual production, which is expected to reach 40,000 barrels a year in 2012.

Four Peaks spent a year looking for historic buildings that would capture the flavor of the 1892 brick warehouse that’s home to the original restaurant and brewery. None of them could be remodeled by the time existing facility hit capacity, said co-owner Jim Scussel.

“We’re so far behind in production that we needed to get it open as soon as possible,” Scussel said.

The $3 million, 56,000-square-foot facility will open near Broadway Road and Hardy Drive next summer. It will employ 20 people at first. Scussel said Four Peaks will likely wait a year to open a restaurant there. The menu would focus on local and organic food to avoid competing with the original location.

The new facility will produce the brewery’s main brands so the original site can experiment with new flavors and brew more beers that are seasonal, strong or aged in wood.

“We just couldn’t do that because we were so busy brewing Kiltlifter and our other flagship beers,” Scussel said.

Four Peaks is about the 65th largest microbrewery in the U.S. now and could become about the 40th largest with the additional capacity, Scussel said.

Four Peaks wants to produce enough beer to sell in stores across Arizona, and then look to having a presence in stores elsewhere in the Southwest. Scussel expects that would include Southern California, Nevada, New Mexico and possibly Colorado. Scussel said the hands-on owners don’t want to get too big.

“Beer should be local, that’s why we’re not shipping our beer to the East Coast,” he said. “When I’m out in New York, I want to drink the local beer.”

The brewery also wants to limit the number of Valley restaurants so the hands-on owners can keep an eye on quality, Scussel said. Four Peaks is still looking to expand to the far East Valley, downtown Phoenix and the West Valley.

Mesa had been courting Four Peaks for a downtown location, including in the Mesa Citrus Growers building on Broadway Road near Country Club Drive.

Four Peaks wanted an old building and liked the character of the 1930s red-brick structure that features a painted Sunkist logo, Scussel said. But the brewer had to begin operating by next summer.

“It was overwhelming. It was kind of like the Four Peaks building that we moved into (in Tempe),” Scussel said. “It needed at least a year or two years of renovation and we really didn’t have that kind of time.”

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