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Brewer inches closer to breaking ground on NR facility

An architect rendering shows what the Barley John’s brewery may look like at the corner of Madison Avenue and Wisconsin Drive in New Richmond. (Submitted image)

A new production brewery could be up and running in New Richmond as early as this winter if the federal government will soon sign a check to get the process started.

According to John Moore, co-owner of Barley John’s Brew Pub in New Brighton, Minn., the Wisconsin District Office of the federal Small Business Administration (SBA) has signed off on his SBA loan application. Now he’s just waiting on the feds to do the same.

“Madison approved it about three weeks ago, and then it got shipped off to Washington, which is supposedly just a formality, but you know the government,” Moore said.

Moore and his wife and co-owner Laura Subak have been planning a production brewery in New Richmond for the past few years. They have operated their brewpub in New Brighton since 2000, and they have been looking for an opportunity to open a bigger production facility in Wisconsin mainly due to Minnesota laws that limit brewpubs to only on-site sales. Opening a production brewery in Wisconsin would allow the couple to get their craft beer on store shelves in the area.

Moore said he settled on New Richmond as the site for his production brewery after seeing the success Paul Werni had opening 45th Parallel Distillery in the city. The land Barley John’s has picked out is on the corner of Madison Avenue and Wisconsin Drive, just a couple hundred yards down the street from his friend’s distillery.

Though they have yet to secure final approval from the SBA for construction funds, Moore and Subak are so confident in the imminent deal that they have published on the Barley John’s website an architect rendering of what the facility may look like.

The exterior was designed with a specific look in mind, according to Moore.

“The concept, as it was in New Brighton, was to kind of push a pre-Prohibition kind of theme,” Moore said. “That’s when brewing’s heyday was, and we’re starting to get back into now. Apparently, the rendering is representative of a machine shop barn that used to be prevalent during that time period.”

Moore said people can expect the final 13,000-square-foot brewery to look at least a little different from what his architect has initially sketched.

“We won’t be having the grain silos that the rendering shows,” Moore said. “There’s an outdoor seating area. In the lower level of the building at the very front that will be the taproom.”

The back portion of the facility will be where Barley John’s will brew and package up to 10,000 barrels of craft beer, though the building design leaves flexibility for future expansion.

“The way the middle section of the building is built, there’s room for eight more fermentors without making the building bigger,” Moore said.

By adding the extra equipment, the brewery could someday expand to a 30,000 barrel operation.

Though the Barley John’s website proudly announces “coming fall 2014,” Moore concedes that the timeline has already begun to slip. He expects to get SBA approval any day, and then another month would be needed for engineering and architecture work before breaking ground. Best case scenario, Moore hopes to get a shovel in the ground in June and complete the four-to-six month construction project by the end of the year.

“It’s all about that dough. Money moves mountains,” Moore said. “If I won the lotto today, we’d be building tomorrow. But as a small business owner, I don’t have that capital right now.”

Micheal Foley
Micheal Foley worked at RiverTown Multimedia from July 2013 to June 2015 as editor at the New Richmond News. 
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