This weekend for the Easter holiday, we will be making the trek to Rolla, Missouri. I’ve mentioned Rolla before, but if you’re not an engineer, you may not even know where to find Rolla. That’s a shame, it’s a nice little college town with one of the better little breweries in Missouri.
Public House Brewing opened in 2010 in an old hardware store, blocks away from
UMR Missouri S&T campus. It’s a partnership between two lifelong friends, Josh Goodridge and Josh Stacy, and their wives. The Joshes felt that Rolla needed a place for friends to gather and enjoy fresh craft beer. Public House has a unique focus on session-strength beer, and they do it very well. So well, that their current 3.5-barrel system cannot keep up with the demand for their brews, which is only sold in their pub and a few spots around Rolla.
So, this month Public House broke ground on a new brewery in St James, Missouri, just up I-44 from Rolla. The new production brewery will greatly expand the availability of Public House’s beer. When I heard about the news, I contacted Josh Goodridge to ask him a few questions about the new location.
- KC Beer Scouts: How big will the system be in St James? Is it new?
Josh Goodridge: We are keeping the current location which has a 3.5-barrel system and we will use it for brewing seasonal and specialty beers. We view the existing tap room as the new incubator where we can be more experimental and get instant feedback from our customers. The second location will feature a tap room with day time hours and tour availability. The new system will have a hot side that is 20-barrels. So this will greatly increase our capacity. We love our current location but expanding our footprint in that spot came with a lot of obstacles – not the least of which is the process of retrofitting an old building to suit a much bigger brewhouse. We went through that the first time around decided it would be better in the long-run to build something from the ground up that was ideal for what we are trying to do.
- KCBS: When do you expect the new brewery in St James to be on-line?
JG: We have late fall of this year as our time frame for a soft opening.
- KCBS: How much beer do you expect to be producing?
JG: We estimate around 2000-barrels the first year of production.
- KCBS: Who will be running that facility? How many brewers do you currently have on staff?
- JG: My co-founder and brewmasterJosh Stacy will be running the new facility. We currently have 2 brewers on staff and that will be the case for the foreseeable future.
- KCBS: What is your expected distribution range? Will you reach into Columbia? St Louis? Kansas City???
JG: Like most breweries we will start close to home and based on demand expand further out. Our main goal is to not have any more supply issues at the current location and be able to offer bottled beer especially for those who are traveling through. The metro areas of the state are on the horizon in the long-term. Mainly we want to solidify our footprint in our own back yard right now.
Public House Brewing often gives back to their homebrewing roots, too. Saturday (tomorrow) will be their fourth American Hombrewers Association Rally. They will have exclusive beers, an in-depth brewery tour, and samples of their regular beers and mead from Leaky Roof Meadery.
Rolla is not a short trip from Kansas City. But if you are a beer adventurer, or if you have a float trip planned for the Meramec River or Gasconade River this summer, stop in and see the Joshes at Public House Brewing.