Tucson’s Borderlands Brewing Co. was the ninth-fastest-growing brewery in the country last year, according to the Colorado-based Brewers Association.
Borderlands was the only Arizona brewery to make the group’s 2018 50 Fastest Growing Breweries list, released on Wednesday.
Iowa’s Lake Time Brewery topped the list, which included breweries scattered throughout the United States, from Florida’s 3rd Planet Brewing in Niceville to Massachusetts’ Tree House Brewery.
The Brewers Association compiled its list from the 2017-18 year-over-year production information provided by small independent breweries around the country.
The data showed that across the country, these breweries “experienced a median growth of 163 percent,” the group reported. The median brewery produced 1,350 barrels of craft beer in-house, with production from these breweries ranging from 50 barrels to more than 40,000.
“As a group, these brewing companies represent approximately 10 percent of total craft growth by volume for the year,” the association reported in releasing its list.
Borderlands falls into that median production range, owner Mike Mallozzi said. The brewery, which celebrated its seventh anniversary earlier this month, saw production grow from 652 barrels in 2016 to 1,511 in 2018.
A barrel is 31.5 gallons of beer.
“I think it speaks to how important the scene is in Tucson not only to our economy but to tourism and the importance of craft beer in general,” Mallozzi said. “Because we are getting noticed. Even in Arizona I think people recognize Tucson as being where it’s at for craft beer. We have a really tight-knit community that’s very supportive and I think that helps us grow and helps us innovate and be thought leaders.”
Borderlands could end up on the 2019 Brewers Association list once it begins brewing in part of an 8,750-square-foot facility downtown. Borderlands joined Tucson brewer Sentinel Peak in a new production venture at 330 S. Toole Ave., a few blocks from Borderlands’ original location at 119 E. Toole Ave.
The two beer makers, operating together as Voltron Brewing Co., will set up brewing operations within the next few months as part of a joint production agreement. Both breweries will produce and package their own beers in the space, which allows both to expand production in a shared space that will reduce each’s overall overhead.
Mallozzi, who works as a researcher at the University of Arizona, launched Borderlands with his friend and business partner Myles Stone in late 2011. Stone recently left the business to work with Indian Health Services at White River, Mallozzi said.