Thirty-two years in, and Alaskan Brewing Co. is still expanding.
The brewery which put Alaska beer on the map celebrated the grand opening of its new taproom Saturday on the brewery’s Lemon Creek campus.
Beer lovers flooded the space, and grabbed pints with friends during the afternoon event. Twenty taps line the wall below a blue, black and green mural depicting the northern lights over Mendenhall Glacier.
With 30-foot high ceilings, an open floor plan, and a location on the way to Costco, the new Alaskan taproom can better serve its primary purpose, said Communications Manager Andy Kline: sharing the brewery’s story through its ales, stouts and porters.
The old Shaune Drive taproom, located just a block away from the new one, was a bit smaller than the new taproom, Kline said, and a funky floor plan meant most of the space wasn’t well-used.
When tour groups dropped by in the summer, they’d quickly fill up the old taproom. There also wasn’t enough space to pour all Alaskan’s beer styles, Kline said.
“Our tasting room as existing was kind of fine for the winter, but in summer, you couldn’t walk,” Kline said.
Moving from just a handful to 20 taps means Alaskan can pour all of its experimental, small batch and seasonal beers at once. Back behind the new taproom, Kline showed off a walk-in refrigerator which houses its kegs.
Red lines lead from some of about 40 kegs. The new system is a big upgrade, Kline said.
“The old tasting room, we were essentially working out of kegerators. It was kind of like glorified home units. This is like ‘OK, finally,’” Kline said.
Alaskan has recently expanded facilities on either side of its beer production area. On the west side of the property, it negotiated the purchase of four lots previously owned by the City and Borough of Juneau. On its east side, the old Anchor Electric Building serves as the location for the new taproom. Alaskan closed a deal to purchase the Anchor building this spring.
Both of those purchases were largely made out of opportunity, Kline said. Space is at a premium in Juneau, and Alaskan knew both of these adjacent properties might be their only chance to secure more next-door room, Kline said.
Alaskan, like other alcohol manufacturers in Alaska, is limited in how many ounces of beer it can serve to customers on a given day. Customers are allowed to drink 36 ounces. Beer sold for off-site consumption is limited to 5 gallons. The new taproom is open 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
• Contact reporter Kevin Gullufsen at 523-2228 and firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @KevinGullufsen.