Firestone Walker Brewing Co. in Paso Robles is planning an expansion that will include a 20 percent addition to the brewhouse building along with a new facade and parking lot.
The Paso Robles Planning Commission approved the expansion Feb. 23. The project requires approval by the City Council, but no date for that hearing has been set, brewery office manager Cathy Matthews said.
The main feature of the expansion will be the addition of 9,132 square feet of multilevel floor space to the brewery at 1400 Ramada Drive for an overall enlarged footprint of 5,000 square feet. The current size of the brewery is 33,263 square feet.
“The new facility will house expanded brewing equipment, vats and vessels, and it will include a new public elevator to access the second level brew deck for public tours,” project architect Kyle Harris said in a letter to city planners.
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A main purpose of the expansion is to increase production so that brewery operations can be scaled back to five days a week. Currently, the brewery operates seven days a week to meet production needs.
“We are fighting hard to keep our work schedule reasonable and our labor costs down,” said Adam Firestone, who co-owns the brewery with David Walker.
The brewery recently merged with the Belgium-based Duvel Moortgat. In 2015, Firestone Walker produced 275,000 barrels, and it’s the 16th largest craft brewery in the nation, according to the Brewers Association. The expansion will not increase production in the near future, but it could set the stage for future expansions, Firestone said Wednesday. He would not speculate on how much the brewery could expand production in the long term.
The expansion also includes a new facade with large windows to display the brewing equipment. The building will have a curved roof, which will allow the brewery to display its “lion and bear” emblem that will be visible from Ramada Drive and Highway 101.
The expansion will displace 12 existing parking spaces. To make up for that loss, a new 40-space parking lot will be constructed on a vacant lot south of the brewery. The new parking lot required a variance by the Planning Commission because it is located more than 300 feet from the brewery. Planning staff said the remote parking lot is similar to other businesses and shopping centers that take up multiple parcels.
The project will also improve the streetscape along Ramada Drive, Harris said. New landscaping will be added and existing sidewalks, curbs and gutters that are currently in disrepair will be upgraded.
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