Monument City Brewing, a local beer company that has been contract-brewing at Abell's Peabody Heights Brewery, on Tuesday announced plans to open its own operation in Highlandtown later this year.
Founded by brothers Ken and Matt Praay in 2014, Monument City will open a 12,800-square-foot facility at 1 N. Haven St. in early November, Ken said. The brewery will include a taproom and area for live entertainment, and will be neighbors to other businesses including Emerging Technology Centers, Bratt Décor and Mark Supik and Co. (the woodworking studio that produces Monument's tap handles).
Staying in the city was imperative to the brothers.
"The development that's going on right there we thought was really attractive," Ken, 38, of Glyndon, said. "We looked at a bunch of different neighborhoods, and we really liked that one. Once we saw the space, we were pretty set on it." (Matt, 28, lives in nearby Patterson Park.)
Construction is under way, Ken said, and the company is going through the federal and state licensing processes.
The move, first reported by Baltimore Magazine, will allow Monument City to produce more beer, he said. While the new equipment and space can handle production of up to 20,000 barrels of beer annually, Monument won't come close to that number, at least any time soon. The goal is to expand to about 3,000 barrels in its first year at the new facility, Ken said.
Monument produces three types of ales — 51 Rye, Brown Ale and Battle IPA. After relocating, Monument will likely expand its portfolio to include a pilsner, Ken said, while the Battle IPA, currently a limited release, will become a full-time product. Most exciting to Ken is the "freedom and flexibility" to produce new seasonal beers quarterly.
Ken and Matt are the company's only employees as of now, but the expansion will allow them to hire two sales staffers, he said.
Another change coming to Monument: Its beers will soon no longer be sold in bottles, just cans. (They will still be available locally on tap, too.) Cans are more cost-effective and preserve beer better because light isn't allowed in, Ken said. There's also a selfish reason.
"We're quite active, out hiking," Ken said. "It's easier to pack those in."
While Ken said he has "no complaints" about the time spent contract brewing at Peabody, moving on to their own operation was always the plan, he said.
"Our goal, from Day 1, was always to have our own location," Ken said. "One of the only reasons we're able to take this next step is because we've been supported by the city and people [bought] our beer. [The new facility] is really a big thank you to Baltimore for helping us take the next step."