For more than a year now, Heavy Seas Beer has been plotting ways to give customers more reasons to visit its Halethorpe brewery.

Expected to cost between $1 million and $2 million, renovations have begun at the facility to turn the current, nondescript taproom into a modern space approximately seven times larger, with the capacity to hold 300 people, more seating and more beer taps, said Christine Shaffer, media and communications manager for the brand. A new canning line has been installed, and a 15-barrel brewhouse that will produce taproom-only beers is nearly up and running, according to Shaffer.

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"We really want to make the taproom a beer destination, to get people to come here and try things they've never tried anywhere else," she said.

Though the company said last summer it expected the approximately 7,000-square-foot taproom to be completed by now, Shaffer said Heavy Seas expects the renovation to be finished by June 2019. She said it could be completed before then, but the company wants to take its time.

Heavy Seas Beer to expand Halethorpe facility, including larger taproom

Heavy Seas Beer, a veteran of the Baltimore craft-beer scene, will expand its taproom in Halethorpe.

"We just want to give ourselves a little more time to make sure we do it right," said Shaffer, who said the taproom is still in the early stages of its design. She also said the hope is the new canning line and brewhouse will lead to more revenue, which will benefit the renovation.

The current taproom has 11 taps, but after the renovation there will be 20, Shaffer said.

The goal, she said, is to drive foot traffic by producing experimental, small-batch beers exclusive to the taproom, a move popular among craft beer brands that Heavy Seas has yet to tap into. The brand plans to collaborate on new brews with other beer makers as well, Shaffer said.

"We could go that direction of trying out some wild yeast strains and doing some beers that Heavy Seas has never brewed before," she said, noting that hazy pale ales and sours are possibilities down the line.

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The new taproom, which will also have a redone patio and 130-person private-event space, will allow for more events, Shaffer said. The current taproom will remain open for regular hours during renovations, she said.

The ongoing renovations coincide with a subtle shift in Heavy Seas' overall branding, Shaffer said. First known as Clipper City Brewing Co. when the brand started in 1995, it became Heavy Seas, with a pronounced pirate motif, 15 years later. Now, the brand wants to be known for its pirate spirit — as reflected in its motto, "fearless, bold, independent" — more so than an actual swashbuckler.

"Our logo is a pirate, but it's not going to be [where] you walk in and it's a pirate ship," Shaffer said of the new space. "In the next year, we'll see what direction it goes. … We're trying to not be the 'Arghh! Aye matey' pirate brewery."

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