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Craft Player Lagunitas On Track for 50% Growth in 2015, Founder Magee Tells SND

July 2, 2015

With the beer business’s biggest holiday weekend just one day away, craft player Lagunitas Brewing Co. is firing on all cylinders. Petaluma, California-based Lagunitas—whose portfolio is led by Impact “Hot Brand” Lagunitas IPA—is on pace to grow by nearly 50% this year, company founder Tony Magee tells SND.

With demand rising rapidly, Lagunitas is ramping up production. Just a little more than a year after opening a brewery in Chicago, Lagunitas—the sixth-largest craft brewer in the country, according to the Brewers Association—has commenced construction on its third facility in southern California.

“The eastern U.S. is growing very quickly for us. The west is simply more developed for all brewers,” Magee explains. “But in California and the Pacific Northwest, we’re still seeing many more beer lovers coming over and liking what they find. That is why we need more brewing capacity here on the left coast.”

The planned 178,000-square-foot brewery and taproom in Azusa, California, is expected to open in early 2017, with an initial capacity of 420,000 barrels, and a build out to one million barrels. Magee puts the construction budget at between $35 and $50 million, or “very similar in engineering and capacity to Lagunitas Chicago.” The company’s original brewery in Petaluma, California can’t be expanded beyond its current 750,000-barrel capacity, and could reach that cap by the end of 2016.

Magee says that while Lagunitas has seen dramatic growth since its founding in the early 1990s, “we’re doing the same sorts of things that we did 20-plus years ago, only on a larger stage. It’s very gratifying to find that those things are still attractive to beer lovers.” And he still sees plenty of room for growth for Lagunitas and his fellow craft brewers. “Craft beer comprises less than 10% of all beer sold in the U.S.,” Magee notes. “There’s a lot of open field available to all of us in the craft world.”

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