Heavy Seas to expand and overhaul taproom, add experimental brewing line

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Heavy Seas to expand and overhaul taproom, add small-batch line
Rendering via Heavy Seas Beer

Heavy Seas Beer’s taproom is getting a makeover, with the Halethorpe-based brewery planning to expand and modernize the space by next summer.

The expansion will grow the brewery’s roughly 1,000-square-foot tasting room to about 7,000 square feet, Heavy Seas’ communications manager Christine Shaffer told Baltimore Fishbowl Wednesday. It will also add a private event space inside and change the look of the outdoor patio.

The project is on track to be completed by June 2019, roughly two years out from when the company first announced the expansion plans. It will cost somewhere between $1 million and $2 million, Shaffer said.

The expansion has been broken out into multiple phases over the last year, Shaffer said. The first involved knocking down a wall in the current taproom to open the space up, and the second has been more “production-side stuff,” such as installing a new canning line that puts out up to 100 cans a minute. Phase III concerns the actual build-out of the taproom.

The brewery is going with local contractors for at least some of the renovations, hiring reclaimed-wood specialists Sandtown Millworks to make custom tables for the space, and working with a design firm—they’re “talking to a couple” right now, Shaffer said—to draw up imagery for the taproom and some of Heavy Seas’ products, including a forthcoming special-edition beer to celebrate the company’s 23rd anniversary.

Artist’s renderings (see below) show a modern-looking facility with a shipping container behind the bar, balcony space for guests and nautical motifs like wood (think ships) and ropes strung from the ceiling, plus a deck outside.

Shaffer said the redesign is meant to reflect a more modern brand than the company’s decades-old pirate logo, though she said it will stay pay homage to the swashbuckler.

“We want it to be a very unique, bold space that still might have that nautical theme…but it’s not going to be super, overly pirate-y.”

The adapted shipping containers should help to pull together the modern seafaring theme. The facility, as planned, will have four total—one behind the bar, two in the warehouse seating area and another on the patio that will function as a second bar,” Shaffer said.

The other big change that’s nearly complete: A brand new 15-barrel brewhouse for Heavy Seas to experiment with new beers made from different hops and yeast strains than those used in more widely distributed brews. That’s already been installed and is “almost up and running,” Shaffer said. Limited edition beers could be served as soon as next month.

The taproom will stay open during renovations, allowing drinkers to watch the progress.

Heavy Seas to expand and overhaul taproom, add small-batch line
Rendering via Heavy Seas Beer
Heavy Seas to expand and overhaul taproom, add small-batch line
Rendering via Heavy Seas Beer
Heavy Seas to expand and overhaul taproom, add small-batch line
Rendering via Heavy Seas Beer

Ethan McLeod
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Ethan McLeod

Senior Editor at Baltimore Fishbowl
Ethan has been editing and reporting for Baltimore Fishbowl since fall of 2016. His previous stops include Fox 45, CQ Researcher and Connection Newspapers in Northern Virginia. His freelance writing has been featured in Baltimore City Paper, Leafly, DCist and BmoreArt, among other outlets. He enjoys basketball, humid Mid-Atlantic summers and story tips.
Ethan McLeod
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