Boulevard Brewing Makes a Strategic Growth Decision

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Jeff Krum is optimistic about Boulevard Brewing’s newest expansion. Although it’s 20,000 square feet of added space in a new building adjacent to the main campus of the brewery, it won’t be housing new fermenters or kettles. Krum hopes it’s packed with people.

Bouelvard will open a new visitors center in late June, complete with a beer hall, retail shop and exhibits about the Kansas City-based brewery, which opened in 1989.

“We’ve had an issue for years with not having the capacity to accommodate the number of people that want to come to the brewery,” Krum explained. “It’s something we have been working on trying to address for many years.”

The first floor will consist of an “Experience” area with exhibits about beer and Boulevard, an expanded retail shop and a much larger tasting room. The 10,000-square-foot second floor will be devoted to a beer hall featuring the brewery’s beers and offering a limited selection of food.

Krum, Boulevard’s vice president of corporate affairs, spoke to The Brewer Magazine about the new four-story facility, which was originally built in 1929 by the Skelly Oil Company. The brewery bought the property a year ago and put the plan in motion. Along with the visitors center, the fourth floor will be additional office spaces. Krum said that 40 jobs, mostly part-time, will be created with the new facility, equaling 20 full-time positions.

boulevard brewing

In 2015, Boulevard hosted almost 60,000 visitors on some 2,300 tours, turning away thousands more due to lack of space.

“How many we turn away or how many don’t even make the drive because if they don’t get there by 10 a.m. on a Friday to get tickets to a tour, we don’t know,” Krum said. “But we feel we can do twice as many tours per week and doubling the number of visitors is not unrealistic.”

Krum noted that Boulevard never had a place to really “entertain” people, so they anticipate repeats visitors from the past could help boost tour sales, and in turn beer, food and retail sales as well.

“It’s humbling to see lines of people waiting for a chance to tour the brewery, and we’re proud of what we’ve done with limited space,” said Amber Ayres, Boulevard’s Director of Tours and Recreation, in a prepared statement. “But we’re really excited by this opportunity to re-imagine and radically enhance the experience. We hope it will become a destination for locals and visitors alike.”

Boulevard, which sold nearly 197,000 barrels in 2015, is available in 35 states with 24 of those having complete coverage. It just added distribution in Michigan and Kentucky in early March following new launches in Rhode Island, upstate New York and along with parts of Alabama to give complete coverage.

Boulevard has the fermentation capacity for 240,000 bbls and features eight year-round varieties and nine other seasonals.

“With more fermentation capacity at the brewery, we have the ability to enter markets that have long been on our wish list,” said vice president of sales, Bobby Dykstra. “We’re pleased to bring our family of beers to craft lovers in these areas.”

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