By this fall, Raytown will be home to its first modern brewery when Crane Brewing Company opens in a refurbished building. Major construction is complete and the brewhouse equipment has been installed in a warehouse and light industrial space owned by founder Michael Crane.
The brewery building formerly housed Funblock, Inc, a furniture maker and contract manufacturer, owned by Crane. He sold assets of the business and cleared out inventory before general contracting began.
“The building is about 17,500 square feet,” says vice-president and co-owner Chris Meyers. “The brewhouse area and fermentation cellar is about 3,700 square feet.”
Their brewhouse system, built by Lincoln, Nebraska manufacturer American Beer Equipment (ABE), arrived over the summer.
“We are hoping to start brewing in the next three weeks,” says Meyers of the estimated brewery production launch by early September 2015. “We are still waiting on our brewer's notice which is almost through. We are still aiming to hit distribution in October.”
Crane Brewing specializes in Saison, Berliner Weiss and Lambic styles, some with a sour, fruity profile that have earned accolades among brewers, judges and the public at numerous festivals.
The initial beer roster includes the fall seasonal Beet Weiss and year-round Tea Weiss, Farmhouse IPA, Saison and Grapefruit Gose. They will distribute these five styles in 750-ml. bottles and kegs, and will offer brewery-only special releases and one-off experimental batches throughout the year.
Meyers and Crane are joined by a team that includes Aaron Bryant, a chemical engineer and Crane Brewing’s operations manager. Steve Hood, who previously worked at Boulevard Brewing, graduated from the American Brewers Guild’s 2013 class. Randy Strange is a graduate of the Siebel Institute of Technology's brewing program and another former Boulevard employee who worked on the brewery’s wine bottling line. Jason Louk, CPA and the brewery’s CEO, rounds out the team.
Crane Brewing has made appearances over the past 18 months at various festivals and events, introducing themselves to the public and offering samples of their beers. Lately, they have concentrated on completing the brewery’s build-out.
“We are really anxious to begin sharing our beers with our community again,” says Meyers. “On a professional scale, we have the resources to do so with improved quality and production efficiency. Basically, we are excited to all make a living and continuing what we love.”
Looking ahead, Crane Brewing plans to host its First Annual Craft Beer Festival of the Lost Township on September 5, 2015, 11 AM to 4 PM, in Raytown.
Crane Brewing Company, 6515 Railroad St, Raytown, MO 64133