Why ‘World Domination’ Isn’t a Brewery’s Path Anymore

Building and growing a brewery is a capital intensive business and Dust Bowl‘s Brett Tate says making that happen is not for the faint of heart.

“You have got to be ready to access funds or spend your money and you have to reinvest in the company,” he told Brewer during an interview for the March/April cover story. “Otherwise, it’s not going to make it. I would think that that’s the greatest thing that I’ve learned. We’re still still learning that.”

The Turlock, California brewery continues to find growth avenues despite the pandemic, seeing double-digits gains in 2020 and 2021.

READ MORE: ​3 ​Strategies that Have Helped Dust Bowl Bloom

“We have a really good plan, I think. We’re not looking at world dominance or anything … that’s over with,” Tate said. “We’re on the tail end of growth in the industry. We’re just getting sucked up into it and we’re just kind of moving that way. Saturation is real. There’s over 1,000 now in California. They’re different models, of course, they’re smaller and all those things, but I think the large growth is gone in beer. It’s coming to, I guess, stagnation.”

Tate explained that the brewery is right at the edge of capacity for its current brewing operations, and recently expanded by purchasing 300-barrel outdoor fermentation tanks for the first time along with a 200-barrel fermentor inside.

“We can’t put any more tanks in unless we move our packaging out to another packaging hall, which we would have to build. We’re full inside, but now we’re going outside, so that’s kind of an indication of where we’re at and where we’re going,” he said. “Right now, [Brewmaster] Don [Oliver] believes that we can brew and sell probably 25,000 barrels of beer with our current configuration. So we’re going to expand on that with the outdoor fermentation.”

Building off the growth of Taco Truck Lager, along with a lime variant, the brewery has also seen growth in its Triple IPA, Therapist.

“Our beer plan is good,” Tate said. “We’d like to double what we are right now within the next two to three years. We’d also like to have all six of our satellite taprooms open in California. That’s our plan right now.

“Will it change? I’m sure tomorrow it will change but we’re on a good path. I feel real confident about what we’re doing and how consistently good we are.”

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