Tucson's Barrio Brewing Co. is busy assembling a new brewery that will soon at least triple its output of beer.
And by the end of year, craft-brew fans will be able to pick up their favorite Barrio beers in cans.
The company is in the midst of installing tanks and other equipment for a new brewery in expanded space at Barrio, 800 E. 16th St.
Together with parts of the old brewery, the new setup will boost Barrio's total capacity to 40,000 31-gallon barrels a year, from about 4,000 now, owner Dennis Arnold said.
When production starts by early April, Barrio will start ramping up to 10,000 to 12,000 barrels, Arnold said.
The company expects to install its new canning line later in April, though it may take a little while to get the product on supermarket shelves, he said. The canned brews will first be available at Barrio and at sister brew pub Gentle Ben's Brewing Co. near the University of Arizona's main gate.
The new brewery, which took seven months to design, features gleaming stainless-steel tanks with advanced refrigeration and insulation, and state-of-the-art equipment to move beer along its journey from grain to barrel - and eventually to can.
Arnold, who opened Gentle Ben's in 1991 and Barrio in 2007, likened his first brewery to a brick-like early cellphone.
"This is like an iPhone," he said of the new setup.
Designed with environmental sustainability in mind, the new brewery will use 40 percent less energy than the old operation, Arnold said, and its floors are steeply sloped to floor drains to minimize water use for cleaning.
The expansion was needed to keep up with demand, he said.
About half of Barrio's current brewing capacity supplies Barrio and Gentle Ben's. The other half is kegged and sold through Golden Eagle Distributors, which will also handle the canned beer, Arnold said.
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