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EBC coming to Little Valley

Look for the NEWEST Ellicottville Brewing Co. facility to open Summer 2018

For Peter Kreinheder, the overall strategy for Ellicottville Brewing Company’s growth was simple. 

The 2013 expansion of Ellicottville’s location provided more food and beverage space with increased brewing capacity in one of the premier ski towns on the East. In nearby Fredonia, he has the college market covered. And the 2016 opening of EBC on Chautauqua gave the brand a summertime, lakeside attraction. So when Southern Tier Brewing decided to discontinue EBC’s bottling contract in 2013, the answer was simple …

Open a bottling and packaging facility. 

“We needed a lot more space to begin bottling in our facility,” Kreinheder, EBC’s owner, said. “We were renting a building by Fitzpatrick & Weller, and at 7,000 square feet, we filled that up pretty quick. But we came across the old Salamanca Beverage Building in Little Valley, which we bought in 2015. We started using it for shipping and receiving, box erection and packaging — all the while cleaning it up.” 

When Kreinheder bought the building, the creativity started flowing. An old industrial building located 8 minutes from the Village of Ellicottville, and one that annually over 600,000 cars pass by. Instead of limiting it to just a bottling and shipping brewery, they could turn it into a family-friendly destination. 

“The number of breweries has exploded in the past 5 years — from 3,000 to over 8,000 — so the market is saturated, but not to a point where growth isn’t viable,” he said. “Opening a bottling facility isn’t something you do overnight. This has been in the works since November of 2015.” 

After getting everything in line that year, he contracted Esau Hueber (out of Germany, and the same that built/installed the Ellicottville brewery) to design and build the brewhouse, and Krones (out of Italy) for the bottling. After a year of construction, crews of Italians and Germans came over to assist local tradesmen in the install. EBC’s Ellicottville locations has two 120 barrel tanks and six 60 barrel fermenter tanks — the new facility has five 180 barrel tanks. For reference: one 180 barrel tank (which are made in Oregon and are 16-feet, 9-inches tall) equals 22 pallets of beer, and there are 72 cases per pallet. So drink up, folks. Not to mention, the automation of the bottle, label, and package process. 

The German-engineered, Italian-made Kosme bottling machine has over 1,000,000 working parts and can churn out 200 bottles a minute when working at maximum capacity. The bottling machine, as well as the assembly line it’s attached to, automates the entire process: from bottling, to X-Raying, to packaging. 

The 75,000 square foot Little Valley location is a 4-vessel facility, compared to the 3-vessel of Ellicottville (this means the brewers gain an extra two hours of work a day). It exhumes efficiency, boasting bigger hop dosers, a yeast propagator and an Economizer. I won’t give away what all of these things are … you’ll need to do a facility tour. 

“What’s really neat are the possibilities,” Kreinheder said. “We’ve got this huge building sitting on 8 acres of land nestled right up to the side of a hill. We’ll open it up for conferences. There’s space for additional snowmobile tracks. It’s right on the Pat McGee trail, so mountain bikers and those on horseback can stop. There’s a huge space out back for concerts and weddings. But the really cool thing we’re planning on is The Brewing Sciences Center.” 

Kreinheder was quick to point out that this won’t be a museum, but a hands-on, fully functional center to learn about the sciences of brewing beer. Think the Corning Glass Museum — how glass is made and its functions.

“You know, a lot of kids don’t know what they want to do with their lives, so a lot of it will be geared towards younger people. There are engineers that learn the science of yeast. There are so many things in the beer industry that aren’t even beer oriented. The engineering of valves and variable speed pumps, the process of malting and agronomics of hops, shipping logistics, marketing, promotion and much more.”

The oldest part of the building is a wide open upstairs, with steel I-beams and exposed brick. Crews dismantled old steam pipes and heating ducts and installed windows for natural light. It is beautifully … old and industrial. 

Back downstairs, the framework for the Public Pub — the on-site restaurant and tasting room — has been installed. A limited, farm-fresh kitchen menu will offer visitors food to complement the beers, with seating both inside and out.

With most of the brewery installation completed the past three months and commissioning next month, the Little Valley facility is on schedule to begin test batches this spring. If all goes according to plan, they’ll be brewing by May, putting out product by June, with the Public Pub opened by the end of June. 

“While the craft market as a whole has slowed down, we’re seeing growth in the 21- to 30-year-old market,” he said. “Anymore, they don’t want to slam a 30 pack of Busch. They want to have a couple of beers and come for the socialization aspect of it — that cool, fun brewery experience. Eventually, we would like to have transport buses from the Ellicottville location to the facility for a dual beer tour adventure.” 

The most admirable aspect of Kreinheder’s newest endeavor is the economic impact it will have on the local community. Increased traffic to and from the facility bring people right into the town. When it’s all said and done, he’ll have added an additional 20-25 full-time positions and 20+ hospitality positions over the next 5 years. And all of the work being done inside the facility? By Cattaraugus County tradesmen (and the terrific process piping team of Bright’s Mechanical out of Erie County).  

“This is our connecting point, the centralized location,” he said. “With Ellicottville, Bemus and Fredonia, Little Valley is kind of the middle of the triangle. It makes sense for us, it makes sense for the community and our employees. We now have the opportunity to not only bring our brewing and packaging to a very high industry standard, but create another vibrant, family-friendly tourism hub for the region.” 

For more information on EBC’s Little Valley bottling facility, head to www.ellicottvillebrewing.com