Brewer buys more property for expansion
Last Updated: 16:15 January 14, 2014
The acquisition follows Left Hand's purchase last summer of 1245 Boston, a two-acre site that sits between Left Hand's brewery and taproom to the east and the Panorama property to the west. While the 1245 site is eyed for a new brewhouse at a yet-to-be-determined point in the future, Left Hand co-founder Eric Wallace said the 1235 site is usable as soon as Panorama moves.
The Panorama property is nearly nine-tenths of an acre, with a 14,000-square-foot building that includes warehouse space and offices. The space is perfect, Wallace said, for dry storage, a maintenance shop and offices, things Left Hand has "wedged in here and there" now.
Panorama - which provides maintenance and landscaping services, among other things, for commercial and residential customers - sold its home of the past seven-plus years under a leaseback arrangement that allows the company to stay there until it finds a new home. Panorama owner Pete Storz said he's identified a new location and is working to put a deal together. He's targeting a move toward the end of the year.
"When they move out of there sometime this year, we'll move right in," Wallace said.
Left Hand, founded in 1993, has boomed along with the rest of the craft beer industry in recent years. Wallace said the company pulled in just more than $16.8 million in revenue and brewed 65,879 barrels of beer in 2013, marking a 32-percent volume growth. The brewery, which distributes to 26 states, anticipates 20 percent volume growth this year.
"We're trying to get in front of it," Wallace said.
Already planning to add about 15,000 square feet this year to create more space for production, offices and a research and development pilot brewing system, the company also has a vacant parcel of land across the street to the north that Wallace said is slated in the long term for a new bottling hall.
The business district along Boston Avenue was one of the hardest hit areas of town during September's historic flood. Left Hand was mostly spared, but damage increased to the east. Panorama, though back to normal now, according to Storz, had several inches of water and mud in its building.
Wallace said he's not worried about the flood risk as Left Hand continues to acquire property in the area and entrench itself there. He said mitigating the flood risk will simply be a factor in the design of future buildings the brewery adds.
"We don't want to have to go out and try to build a whole brand new brewery from scratch," Wallace said. "It's way too expensive."
While 1235 Boston fits well into Left Hand's immediate plans, Storz said Panorama, founded in 2004, had outgrown the lot and needed more space for equipment. While he declined to disclose revenues, Storz said Panorama is also expecting growth this year, ramping up to 60 or 65 employees once the peak season rolls around.
"This is a discussion we had a while back, and it sort of made sense to move forward," Storz said. "We have a chance to move to a place with a larger footprint, and (Left Hand has) a chance to expand on the site they've committed to."
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