On the evening of May 13, excited spectators watched a calm and competent crew from North Coast Brewing Company direct the placement of three brand new stainless steel fermenting tanks into the southwest side of the Brewery. Two heavy-duty cranes lifted the 22,000 pound tanks above the roof and lowered them onto the floor. This event was the culmination of over two years of planning, permitting, designing, engineering and construction. Under the direction of NCBC President and Brewmaster Mark Ruedrich, team leaders Chuck Martins, Head Brewer and Plant Engineer, and Mike Wineland, Project Manager, masterminded and implemented this expansion.
In preparation for the installation, three twelve foot diameter holes were cut into the Brewery roof and the existing eight inch concrete floor was excavated and replaced by a four foot thick concrete base laced with rebar and topped with steel anchor bolts to hold the fermenters in place. Each tank holds 16,275 gallons, roughly enough to fill 171,500 twelve ounce bottles. When full, each tank will weigh 152,000 pounds. Once the tanks are plumbed and the electrical work is completed, the fermenters will be fully operational. NCBC projects the addition of the tanks will boost production 40% over last year and add about a dozen additional people to the workforce.
The tanks were manufactured by the Paul Mueller Company in Springfield, MO., and transported 2100 miles to Fort Bragg, CA in three Mueller flatbed trucks. According to one of the drivers, the toughest part of the route was the last 30 miles between Willits and Fort Bragg. If you live on the Mendocino Coast, you can easily see the three new fermenters from the Brewery Taproom across the street from the Brewery on Main Street in downtown Fort Bragg. Check out the NCBC blog to see more photos of the three new tanks.
Truck photo: Bob Swatzell
Roof top photos: Jason Ross