Four months almost to the day after a fire started in his brewery on Franklin Street, Matt Barnaby stood Monday morning at a property on Shattuck Way that will be the brewery’s new home.
The space, located in the Emporium Building across from City Hall, is much larger than the previous location, which was in a basement that used to house the Juneau Arts & Humanities Council (JAHC).
“Our tap room will be about four or five times as large as the last one, with windows,” Barnaby said, gesturing to the bright room. “There’s not a light on in here.”
Barnaby, who co-owns Barnaby Brewing with his wife Kelly, said there’s been almost no progress in cleaning up the old location after a fire damaged it in mid-April. He was walking downtown one day, he recalled, and saw that the building on Shattuck was being leased out. He called the number and things moved quickly from there.
The space is still under construction, as the large open area that was formerly occupied by Commercial Signs & Printing has been divided into three commercial spaces. Barnaby Brewing’s lease doesn’t start until October, Matt said, and he said the brewery will probably open in November or December. There’s still quite a bit of work to do, both on the physical space and on the brewing front.
An electrical issue caused a fire on the evening of April 16 in the brewery’s former location, just as Matt and Kelly were preparing to celebrate the brewery’s one-year anniversary. They’ve been closed since then, but Matt said the alcohol production companies in town — Alaskan Brewing, Amalga Distillery and Devil’s Club Brewing — have all been supportive. Devil’s Club, for instance, has been serving Barnaby Brewing root beer from time to time.
“Among the manufacturers, (the support)’s been outstanding,” Matt said.
He said they’re hoping to get larger brewing equipment for the new location as well. Even if they stick with the same smaller setup they used in the old location, Matt said, the layout of the new brewing area is better. Instead of a crammed, long and thin space to brew, the brewing area is more of a square and should make for a less cramped setup.
Even in its hiatus, the brewery has seen some success. Barnaby’s “I’ll Have Another 2018” smoked beer won silver in the Smoked/Rauch Beer category at the 2018 U.S. Open Beer Championship this summer. The irony of the brewery winning with a smoked beer after the fire was not lost on Matt, he told the Empire at the time.
Matt and Kelly were at Haines Brew Fest earlier this summer and will be at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver at the end of September. Research and development never ends, Matt said, and he’s still been brewing in small batches.
They’ll continue to offer a similar lineup of beers whenever they reopen, Matt said, with some new wrinkles. He’s particularly looking forward to releasing a Norwegian-style farmhouse ale, which he said is becoming trendy among the brewing community.
“It’s completely different from what we’ve been doing,” Matt said, “so it’s exciting.”
• Contact reporter Alex McCarthy at 523-2271 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @akmccarthy.