Urban Chestnut Brewing Company to Open 100K bbls Capacity Brewery, Retail Location in The Grove

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{a re-imagined Renard as Urban Chestnut – image by Trivers Associates}

As first reported by nextSTL.com, Urban Chestnut Brewing Company is set to expand in a big way, opening a second location in the 67,000 square foot Renard Paper Company building in The Grove (Forest Park Southeast). To be developed by Green Street St. Louis, the planned LEED certified $10M development will include brewing, bottling and warehouse facilities as well as indoor and outdoor retail tasting rooms.

UCBC opened in January 2011 in an 8,000 square-foot renovated service station in Midtown. Just more than two years later, the effort by former Anheuser-Busch employees David Wolfe and Florian Kuplent is set to expand in a big way. Green Street has purchased the Renard building at Taylor and Manchester and is leasing the property to UCBC. Trivers Associates has been selected as the architect for the project. The new location in expected to open in early 2014.

Renard Paper Company - St. Louis, MO

In the first full year of production measured, from July 2011 to July 2012, UCBC brewed 1,808 barrels of beer. Schlafly, the region’s largest craft brewery did approximately 42,000 barrels. O’Fallon was second at 4,274 barrels. The UCBC total is remarkable for a new brewer and growth in retail location bottle sales and taps at locations across the St. Louis region, as well as Indianapolis and Philadelphia (at least), have continued to push demand.

According to the press release from UCBC, the new facility will have an annual capacity of 15,000 barrels initially. In all of 2012 UCBC produced 3,500 barrels and expects to produce 7,000 in 2013. The additional space at the Renard building will allow for expansion up to 100,000 barrels, a figure that would easily outpace Schalfly's 42,000 barrels brewed in 2012. But Schlafly isn't sitting still and has been searching for 30 acres or more in the city for a new brewing facility. Expansion will take time and it's not expected that UCBC will pass Schlafly as the largest craft brewer in St. Louis any time soon. The current UCBC 20 barrel brew house, taste room and Biergarten, located at 3229 Washington Ave in Midtown St. Louis, will remain open and will be utilized to primarily test, brew, and package smaller batch beers.

Renard Paper Company - St. Louis, MO
{Renard Paper Co. spans the entire length of a block of Manchester Avenue}

UCBC is located at 3229 Washington Avenue in the city’s Covenant Blu/Grand Center neighborhood, though the commercial area is widely marketed as Midtown Alley. The brewer enjoyed a positive reception when opening, but seemed to gain momentum with the conversion of a surface parking lot to an outdoor biergarten in June 2012. On the market for several years, the Renard building was constructed in 1947 (Manchester/Taylor corner), with significant additions in 1986 and 1990. 

Renard Paper Company - St. Louis, MO
{expect the wall looming over Manchester to get some creative treatment by Trivers}

The St. Louis microbrew scene has exploded in the past two years. At least six new breweries are set to open, or are in the planning stages for 2013, including Heavy Riff in Dogtown, Alpha Brewing Co. on Washington Avenue downtown, Modern Brewery in Kings Oak (near Dogtown), Shaw Brewery in Shaw and Scratch Brewing in Ava, IL.

The region’s larger micro-brewer, Schlafly has been scouting locations for a large new brewing operation. Currently, demand cannot be met with existing facilities and a site as large as 50 acres is being sought. According to comments by Schlafly CEO Dan Kopman in a story by Evan Benn, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch beer guru, 4,000 barrels of draft Pale Ale were brewed at the new Blackstone Brewery in Nashville. Draft Summer Lager and Oktoberfest will be brewed at the Backpocket Brewery in Iowa City in 2013 and Stevens Point Brewery in Wisconsin produces Schlafly canned beer.

Launched in 2001, Kraftig, which brought the Busch name back to brewing following the sale of Anheuser-Busch, is looking for a location to build a large brewery in St. Louis as well. “I think the story of our company has been resonating with customers,” William K. (Billy) Busch told the Post-Dispatch in 2012. “And people in St. Louis know a good beer.” By one estimate, Kraftig brewed 10,000 barrels of beer last year. With a very public goal of reaching 2,000,000 barrels, the brewer hopes to bring production to St. Louis. Currently, the company’s two beers, Kraftig and Kraftig Light are brewed in La Crosse, WI.

Urban Chestnut Brewing Company / Greenstreet announce new brewery in The Grove by nextSTL

Green Street press release announcing new Urban Chestnut Brewing Company location in The Grove by nextSTL

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  • kuan

    Thank god – I often biked by that Renard building on the way to work when I lived in St. Louis and to say it was bland would be an understatement.

  • Fantastic news!!! This is so exciting for Forest Park Southeast and the Manchester strip. Now we just need to land Kraftig and Schlafly in the city.

  • Hasan

    Great news. The rendering looks great.

  • Vanishing STL

    Hopefully they will be punching a LOT of windows into that giant blank wall! The rendering is very vague about this.

  • Don

    Excellent news for Urban Chestnut and The Grove. This long-term investment will be a much needed stabilizing anchor for The Grove that will encourage other big investment moving the neighborhood to the next level.

  • Presbyterian

    Love the rendering. Great news. And by my stopwatch, NextStl beat the Post Dispatch to the story by one hour twelve minutes, or thereabouts 🙂

  • RyleyinSTL

    Oh wow! I was just thinking the other day about how the Renard Paper Company building was likely a real stumbling block for development along that part of Manchester. I sure hope they do something creating and engaging with that huge wall.

    Beer, saving the world!

    • mtv

      Paper storage requires a temperature and humidity controlled environment and that wall, while not ascetically pleasing, was correct design for their product. I also hope they punch some holes in that wall.

      • STLEnginerd

        …or maybe an awesome mural of some kind?

        • Alex Ihnen

          Or both.

  • The architect for the project is Trivers Associates – not Christner

    • Alex Ihnen

      Story has been updated – thanks. We’ll have more soon.

  • T-Leb

    Big move for a new brewery.

  • Hannah

    This is very exciting. They have great beers and I’m glad they’re expanding. But also, with such a large capacity at that site that may take some time to grow into, I’d be surprised if they hadn’t begun talking with other smaller breweries in the area and even Schlafly about taking on some of their bottling

    • Alex Ihnen

      True – UCBC won’t pass Schlafy’s 40K+ barrels overnight. It will be interesting to see how much Schlafly grows. They’re looking for 40 acres in the city for a new brewing facility.

      • JustFlushIt

        I think McKee may have some land lying around for just such an enterprise….

        • JB

          I’m sure that McKee has already spoken with them.

          • Alex Ihnen


    • T-Leb

      They will be contract brewing, but for who you might not ever really know unless they want you to. UCBC is not exactly a desired beer outside StL, or even by the StL/Missouri craft beer community. I’m interested to see how they go forward and create success.

      • Hannah

        That’s funny, I’ve heard very favorable reviews inside and outside of the STL area. 94 overall on beer advocate (for reference Schlafly is at 92).

      • Craig Hoolihan

        I disagree with the desirability comment, I think UCBC is a very desirable beer in St. Louis, and I think they will be desired outside fo St. Louis once they are introduced. The numerous groceries stores that have picked up their bottled line and numerous restaurants that now have them on tap are a good example why. When you see them on tap in a restaurant that has only, say, ten taps, that means they beat out a lot of beers to get to that tap. If you have some proof that they are not desired please present it.