Tuesday morning, Joseph Ackerman of Columbia’s Conquest brewery took to the Midlands airwaves on 92.1 FM The Palm to discuss how things have been going for the brewery and what they’ve got coming up in their future.
In the immediate future, Conquest will be one of the breweries pouring at the Riverbanks Zoo & Garden’s Brew at the Zoo this Friday, Aug. 2, from 7-9:30 p.m. The annual beer festival was the first one I ever attended and is a great introduction to craft beer. More than 150 beers will be tapped that night, and Conquest will be pouring its three flagships – Sacred Heart IPA, Artemis Blonde and Medusa Stout – as well as a special treatment of Artemis infused with blueberries and blackberries from Columbia’s City Roots.
But the most exciting and promising news came toward the end of the hour. Since opening in January, Conquest has brewed on a 3 BBL system, and while they’ve greatly expanded their fermentation capacity – currently nearly 50 BBL – the demand for their beer has grown exponentially and with it their need to produce more. A few weeks ago, they filled their new 15 BBL fermenter for the first time with Sacred Heart, and filling just that one tank took a day and a half worth of brewing the same beer.
By year’s end, that may change. The brewers have long said they’ve wanted to expand to a 15 BBL brewing system and 30 BBL fermenters, and Ackerman said Tuesday there are about 2/3 of the way through raising enough money to upgrade to hat 15 BBL. This expansion would mean a number of things, including the possibility of expanding distribution outside of the Columbia area. When the 15 BBL system comes online, the 3 BBL system would be used as a pilot system, meaning more new and experimental beers.
All of this is still up in the air, mind you, but at the rate Conquest has been growing in production and popularity, expansion will be a must in the near future.