A local brewery raised a toast to its new Goochland County home on Friday.
Midnight Brewery opened its new 5,400-square-foot brew house and taproom last week. The new building is on Granite Ridge Road just west of Short Pump. It’s twice the size of the storefront the brewery opened two years ago and can brew about 12 times as much beer and seats six times the patrons.
Founder Trae Cairns attributed his company’s growth to a 2012 change to state law that allowed breweries to sell pints for onsite consumption.
“This was in the plans, but not this quickly,” Cairns said. “SB 604 really changed a lot of what we were doing … our business plan was basically lost after nine months.”
Cairns previously worked IT by day and brewed by night, which is where the name Midnight comes from. He launched the brewery about two and a half years ago and has since gone into the brewing business fulltime.
Midnight is leasing its new building, which was built to suit by Midnight’s landlord. Midnight is vacating its original space at 2410 Granite Ridge Road to take over the new brewery. Both buildings have the same owner.
Cairns’ new digs include a 10-barrel brewing system and 20 barrels of fermenting tanks, gear Cairns bought secondhand from Norfolk-based O’Connor Brewing Co. He estimated the new brewery could produce a maximum of 400 barrels of beer a month. Midnight’s previous system produced about 30 barrels a month.
The first beers Cairns threw into the fermenters were Midnights staple Rockville Red and Not My Job brown ale. Virginia Midway, a beer Midnight is brewing specifically for this year’s Virginia State Fair, was also on tap at Friday afternoon’s opening.
As it unveils its new home, Midnight will also look to sell more beer outside of the brewery. About 60 percent of the company’s sales volume currently comes from its brewhouse. Cairns is guessing a wider distribution network will bring that onsite number down to about 30 or 40 percent as sales increase at outside bars and restaurants.
“When you increase your volume, that table will turn where we’ll have a bigger distribution volume percentage,” he said. “We’ve been talking about some of our strategies, which we probably won’t go into too much detail about, but the goal is to get some more permanent accounts.”
Midnight is distributed by Richmond-based Brown Distributing.
Midnight isn’t the only Richmond brewery that’s expanding. Hardywood announced new distribution deals for Washington D.C., northern Virginia and western Virginia in the past year and is now turning an eye towards Hampton Roads.