Construction started earlier this month on a new home for Grace Ridge Brewing Company. Jay-Brant General Contractors have begun work on the 2,400-square-foot building on Smoky Bay Way off Lake Street that will include a production facility, a small tasting room, sales area and an outdoor beer garden. Chris Cole of 61 North is the architect.
“We’re hoping to have a nice outdoor area for people to sit in,” said brewmaster and co-owner Don Stead. “We’re hoping to be able to do some landscaping and provide a fire pit and outdoor tables.”
Stead is the majority partner in the family-run business that includes his wife, Sherry, and children Steven and Scott Stead. Grace Ridge Brewing opened in May 2016 in rented space next to the United Parcel Service warehouse. Coincidentally, its new location will be near the new UPS store. Grace Ridge is the second lower Kenai Peninsula brewery with the Homer Brewery on Lakeshore Drive.
At its new location, Grace Ridge Brewing will operate under the same conditions as its current alcoholic beverage license. It can sell beer and ales in 5-gallon kegs, growlers and cans to go, and allow for on-site consumption up to 36 ounces a person a day. Breweries cannot have entertainment, games or television.
Grace Ridge does hold monthly First Friday art shows. Stead said they plan to have art exhibits at the new location.
“I do want to continue doing that. Sherry wants us to continue doing that — whatever we can do to help people build community. That’s our goal,” Stead said.
With the expansion, Stead said they hope to add an automated canning line to expand retail sales of 12-ounce beers and six-packs. Right now, they sell 32-ounce canned beer at the Grog Shop in Homer and Country Liquors in Kenai. They also hope to expand keg sales to area restaurants and bars. The new facility will allow them to increase production from its current 200 barrels a year to more than 600 barrels.
Stead said he expects construction will be finished in October, with a closure for a month or longer in the fall as they get settled.
Grace Ridge Brewing is open noon – 8 p.m. daily, with curbside pickup available by calling 907-455-0601. Its brews are named after Kachemak Bay landmarks, and include such flavors as Kayak Beach Blonde, Sadie Peak IPA and Otter Bay Amber. For current taps, visit its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/graceridgebrewing.