Many significant changes have been taking place at Amherst’s craft brewery to accommodate the national demand for their award winning beers. Over the past ten years, Central Waters Brewery has steadily transformed from a promising microbrewery into a nationally recognized company, now capable of producing over 30,000 barrels of beer a year. They have won multiple national awards for their decadent bourbon aged brew including, 1st place at the 2014 World Beer Cup for their “Sixteen”, 1st place at the 2012 Great American Beer Festival for “1414,” and 1st place at the 2006 Great American Beer Festival for their Bourbon Cherry Stout. Currently, Central Waters carries 18 different beer styles and services thousands of retail locations in Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, Iowa, Illinois,New York, and Michigan.
In January of 2016, Anello Mollica revealed to reporter Daniel Higgens of the USA-TODAY NETWORK - Wisconsin, "Every time somebody sees a new barrel-aged beer from us, that beer is at least two years in the making. Some of our beers are five years in the making before they see a label and the shelf," Mollica said. "We're brewing beers now for '20' and we're talking about beers for our 21st anniversary so we have something extra special."
This past summer, most of the fermentation tanks in the cellar were removed from Central Waters’ warehouse and replaced with larger vessels built by Quality Tank Solutions in Marshfield, Wisconsin. The increased size of the tanks now allow the production of 27,000 barrels of beer annually. This is 14,000 more barrels more than their previous maximum production. Due to careful planning, the new vessels arrived at different times, allowing the crew time to install and fill them before shutting down the brewhouse, another very important piece of equipment that was about to be upgraded.
In mid October, the crew at Central Waters stopped brewing beer and removed their 30-barrel brewhouse, replacing it with a 50-barrel brewhouse with a complete automation package. According to Owner and Head brewer Paul Graham, “The new brewhouse gives us the capability to produce up to 34,000 barrels per year while still running two shifts, five days a week. The automation allows us to have a more efficient brewhouse and more consistent product. After being shut down for almost four weeks in November, Central Waters is back up and brewing again!”
Once the brewhouse reconstruction is complete, the brewery will finish expanding and renovating their popular Tap Room. A gift shop will be built in the front entryway, available to the public seven days a week. Tours are given on Fridays at 5 p.m. and Saturdays at 3 p.m. to explain their brewing process and the company’s history.
For more information about Central Waters Brewery visit their website centralwaters.com or take a tour the next time you visit their Tap Room.
Brewer Simon Nielson on the new brew deck at Central Waters. The brewery is finishing up another expansion.
A sample of Central Water's award winning brews.
Central Waters Brewing Company in Amherst, WI.
article by Eleonore Hebal