Columbia Craft Brewing Company opened its doors a little more than two years ago, and it’s definitely made an impact. Its two flagship beers, Columbia Craft Lager and Famously Hop IPA, have quickly become local hallmarks on tap walls and in cans at bottle shops and grocery stores, the latter of which is a surefire stamp of demand if there ever was one.
Though small, the brewery’s taproom packs in crowds for events like music bingo on Wednesdays. And events aside, the high quality of the rotating styles and experimental brews on the tap list are like blood in the water to craft beer fans who start circling the taproom tables right at happy hour pretty much every day. To push the shark metaphor a little further, Columbia Craft is gonna need a bigger boat.
With that in mind, about a year ago, Columbia Columbia started planning a huge new expansion that finally broke ground last week and is scheduled to be finished in May.
The expansion is set to include a rooftop bar with at least 16 taps, a covered patio with long Biergarten-style tables and TVs and an outdoor patio, which should be particularly attractive to pet owners.
“The rooftop will be almost as large as the current taproom and likely accommodate about 40 to 50 people,” says Columbia Craft Media Manager Melanie Schmitz. “The patio cover/expansion will give us a lot more space on the lower level, too.”
And as you might expect for a brewery that embraces the city’s old “Famously Hot” slogan, the new outdoor spaces will be prepared for long Columbia summers, as well as the occasional days of winter weather.
“Fans and heaters both upstairs and on the patio will hopefully make the spaces comfortable for most of the year,” Schmitz offers.
Head Brewer Shaun Piggott is looking forward to the expansion not only for the extra space, but also for what he’ll be able to brew.
“I'm pretty excited about having 16 taps of beer at the upstairs bar,” he says. “It'll give us an opportunity to experiment even more often.”
The expansion also includes a large cooler room and a barrel-aging room that will be able to store about 100 barrels, a big up-tick from the dozen or so Columbia Craft can currently handle.
“I’m pumped about the entire expansion,” Schmitz concludes. “I can’t wait to get a view of the city from the rooftop, not to mention the sunsets.”