Barely just a year old, the ol’ Republic Brewery in Nevada City has won approval for a major expansion that will quadruple its production and clear the way for it to begin selling bottled beer within three months, Sierra Foothills Report has learned.
The expansion is the latest example of the boom in craft beer and other artisan-food businesses in the Sierra foothills — from crusty bread at The Baker and the Cakemaker in Auburn to chocolate at Nevada City’s Cello Chocolates to dry-cured meats at the Smokey Ridge Charcuterie in Placerville.
Ol’ Republic’s growth spurt shows the potential for entrepreneurship and economic diversification in our region — typically dominated by construction and real estate. It shows the potential for local policy-making that nurtures and supports small businesses.
Ol’ Republic’s expansion will occur in the Seven Hills business district of Nevada City where the existing brewery is located, a coup for the historic town. Ol’ Republic worked with landlord and longtime resident Lance Amaral to secure the space, and received its approvals from the city and county.
The brewery will add 4,000 square feet of space behind Nevada City Furniture and Mattress to the existing 3,200 square feet of space — more than doubling its size — co-founder and co-owner Jim Harte told Sierra Foothills Report.
Annual production will quadruple to 2,000 barrels a year from 500 barrels a year, Harte said. “We’ll be able to blanket the area from Lake Tahoe to Sacramento,” with ol’ Republic Beer, he added.
The beer is now sold at ol’ Republic’s taproom at 124 Argall Way, as well as some local restaurants, such as Matteo’s Public in downtown Nevada City. The taproom has become a popular gathering spot for beer, music and catered food. Or guests can BYOF (bring your own food).
At the start, the bottled beer, in 22- or 24-ounce bottles, is expected to be sold at SPD Market in Nevada City and Grass Valley and the Station House on East Main Street in Grass Valley, Harte said.
About three types of ol’ Republic’s beers will be bottled for the rollout. The brewery is in the process of refining its labels.
Ol’ Republic will still sell its beer in kegs and growlers. But the bottled beer — released in smaller quantities at first — will be well suited to locals and visitors alike.
Visitors can grab a bottle of locally made beer at SPD and include it with their picnic basket for an outing.
Ol’ Republic Bewery opened its doors in February 2012. Brewers Harte and partner Simon Olney handcraft their lagers. Examples include a Dortmunder Export, a Helles and their version of a California Common. Their ales include an English-style IPA, a Celtic Red and the blackest Export Stout.
Harte called this expansion “phase two” of the ol’ Republic brewery, whose launch was first reported here in March 2011. A “phase three” could include expansion to 8,000 to 15,000 barrels annually, expanding beyond the Interstate 80 corridor, he said.
(photo credit: Tom Dalldorf and Celebrator Beer News)