Founded in Petaluma, California, in 1993, Lagunitas has been operating its brewery there for several years at its max capacity of 600,000 barrels per year. The new Chicago brewery will initially add 600,000 barrels annually on its way to a total increase of 1.2 million barrels.
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The expansion will allow Lagunitas to meet the increased demand for its beer, including its flagship and best-selling brand IPA.
"We were very constrained for capacity for the last 21 years and this is the first time that we'll be able to put the reins forward on the horse," Magee said. "Now we're just going to let the horse go and see how fast it wants to run."
If the past is any indication, Lagunitas will be moving at a pretty fast pace. Already the fifth largest craft brewer, according to Brewery Association, Magee estimates the brewery has been growing sales by as much as 70 percent in the last couple of years.
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Currently available in 36 states, Lagunitas expects to be in all 50 states by the end of the summer because of the new brewery.