Friday AM October 30th, 2009

image of st arnolds logoSaint Arnold's is making the transition to a new brew house near downtown that's almost four times the size of its old location. Ed Mayberry reports.
Saint Arnold's new building, the old HISD building

The new brewery is the 95-year-old Houston ISD food distribution warehouse on Lyons.  The four-story warehouse is being adapted into a place that can turn out about four times the amount of beer than previously.  Saint Arnold founder Brock Wagner says they're three to five more weeks away from the first beer produced from the new facility.

"We had 15 years in the old location.  We grew, we kinda got to our maximum capacity there.  Invested a whole lot of money, but we plan on being here, you know, for the rest of my life, certainly.  You know, we have two focuses here: one is brewing great beer.  The other part was creating this institution that Houston would be proud of, and what I find is that when you're passionate about something, you work harder at it.  It gives dividends down the road you wouldn't normally expect."

The new brewery will continue featuring Saturday afternoon tours, which draw almost 600 people a week.  Wagner says hardcore fans of Saint Arnold's shouldn't worry that their craft beer is growing too fast.

"I've had some concern about that.  I mean, we suddenly have this building on the side of I-10 that everybody can see.  I wondered if somebody's gonna drive by and think suddenly we're a big brewery, when in fact we're still the same company.  Our soul hasn't changed.  We're still just 24 people.  You know, it is a concern.  We don't want it to look like an industrial brewery because we're not."

Ed: "Is this all new equipment you have here, or some will be moved from the old location?"

"Yeah, everything that's on the floor right now is new equipment.  But we're going to be moving most of our old equipment from the old brewery over here." 

Wagner says he's had ideas for other beers that he's been wanting to try, and the new facility has the capacity needed to experiment and develop new types.  Ed Mayberry, KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.
 

Saint Arnold's beer

Bio photo of Ed Mayberry

Ed Mayberry

Local Anchor, All Things Considered

Ed Mayberry has worked in radio since 1971, with many of those years spent on the rock 'n' roll disc jockey side of the business...