COVINGTON, Ky. -- Braxton Brewing Co. is cranking up production, with plans to can a second beer style and to distribute cans in Ohio, the company announced Monday at its Builders Town Hall event.
Crank Shaft, the company’s IPA, will become Braxton’s second canned beer, joining Storm, a golden cream ale that was first canned and distributed in Northern Kentucky in November. Consumers can expect to see Crank Shaft and Storm cans on shelves in Cincinnati by the third week of February.
“The decision to can Crank Shaft comes down to market trends,” said Braxton CEO Jake Rouse. “IPAs lead by 40 percent in volume and sales, and that’s still growing. Plus, Crank Shaft won a gold medal in Lexington, so it was a no-brainer for us.”
That gold medal came at the 2015 Alltech Commonwealth Cup, which pitted beers from around the world against each other in multiple categories.
Described on Braxton’s website as “a more approachable version of the typical American IPA,” Crank Shaft is a balanced example of the style: It stands out in the category but doesn’t overpower the taste buds as many IPAs do.
“We put a tremendous amount of effort and money into Crank Shaft to give you a nose and a taste that is of the highest quality,” said Richard Dubé, the brewmaster at Braxton.
Currently, Braxton has produced more than 106,000 cans of Storm, and head brewer Evan Rouse described the beer as “selling very well.” Both Storm and Crank Shaft feature designs from Neltner Small Batch, out of Camp Springs, Kentucky, and will be distributed by Stagnaro Distributing.
In order to meet production demand, Braxton is looking to add five positions soon, said Jake Rouse.
“We’ve laid out a pretty aggressive headcount plan,” he said.
Braxton also announced Monday that it will add two 120-barrel fermenters, as well as a 120-barrel brite tank, for use in kegging. Evan Rouse said this will triple brewing capacity for Braxton, which opened its doors in March 2015. The brewery previously added two 80-barrel fermenters in July, tripling the brewing capacity at that time as well.
There will be a lineup change for Braxton, too. Twisted Bit, the Dortmunder-style lager, will go from being a seasonal offering to having a permanent spot on the taps. And Sparky, a hoppy wheat ale, will be available from March through September, mirroring baseball season, since it is sold at Great American Ball Park.
“This is a commitment to lagers,” said Evan Rouse. “We feel like the general public is coming back to lagers, and we feel we do them well.”
“From a business standpoint, it’s a big, big deal, because the cycle time is longer,” said Dubé.
Disclosure: The reporter is a part-time employee of Braxton Brewing.