(Photo courtesy of Fat Head's)
“We’ve really outgrown our space – and I’m really proud of that,” says Matt Cole, brewer-owner of Fat Head's. “When I hit this road block I started looking at other buildings.”
Cole managed to find just the spot, an eight-acre site just off I-71 and Bagley Road in Middleburg Heights.
When all the construction is complete, the new brewery will have 75,000 square feet within which to work, triple the space of the current production facility that Fat Head’s opened in 2012. What’s more, the company will have another 50,000 square feet into which they can expand down the road. Fat Head's opened its N. Olmsted brewpub in 2009.
North of $10 million, the ambitious project will net a 75-barrel brewery with packaging line, restaurant and patio.
“It’s a big undertaking and hopefully the last brewery that I ever have to build,” Cole adds. “It’s kind of fun to be able to design it from the ground up. We’re finally going to be able to upgrade to new German brewhouse, a new packaging line, a new canning line, a kegging line…”
The new setup will facilitate the production of up to 150,000 barrels of beer per year.
“It will put us within the top 50 breweries in the country,” Cole adds. “It might take us five or 10 years to get there.”
The shiny new brewhouse will be prominently exposed behind the taproom bar, but guests will have amazing views of the entire process, Cole says.
“We’re setting it up so you can do self-guided tours that horseshoe people around the whole process, from open fermentation to malt handling and hop storage to canning, packaging and kegging.”
Unlike the current production brewery and taproom, the new one will have a full-service 225-seat restaurant and beer hall with attached 3,000-square-foot patio. Guests in both spots will be able to enjoy Texas-style barbecue like pulled pork, ribs and brisket prepared in a traditional manner.
“Pit-style barbecue is my personal passion,” Cole says. “No gas, no pellets, all hardwoods.”
The project is expected to take a year. During the process, Cole says that he intends to find a taker for his current brewery.
“Not only are we going to try and create a new brewery, but we’re going to try and keep this existing brewery functioning as is,” he says.