February 02, 2009
Time for a Saint Arnold update

Things are going well on the new brewery construction front.

Saint Arnold Brewing Co. is leaving its 30,000-square-foot, leased facility at 2522 Fairway Park Drive in the Heights and moving to a three-story, 90,000-square-foot brick building at 2000 Lyons Ave., just north of Interstate 10 and east of Elysian Street.

The facility was previously owned by the Houston Independent School District.

Owner Brock Wagner, a West University Place resident, hopes to make the move by June.

Wagner said business has grown by about 25 percent each year.

"I knew the current facility was going to reach its production limit in the not too distant future," Wagner said.


Dedicated to urban revitalization, Wagner felt the best place was downtown, but most buildings were in terrible shape or owners wanted "ridiculous amounts of money" for them, he said.

"When we opened, we had two goals: to brew and sell the best beer in Texas and to create an institution Houston was proud of," he said. "As part of that it seemed to make sense that we were centrally located."

He found the building at 2000 Lyons Ave., which HISD used as a frozen food distribution warehouse. Initially, the district planned to demolish the building, built in 1914, because most businesses couldn't use the building with larger freezer space, Wagner said.

From an operational standpoint, the building wasn't perfect for the brewery either. But Wagner said he hated to see an old building with so much character abandoned.

He purchased the building and land plus a 79-space adjacent parking lot for $1.18 million.

Wagner is spending $6 million to prepare the building for the brewery, including adding 12,000 square feet.

There will be more bathrooms, air conditioning, and weekday tours. It doesn't get much better than that.

The odd thing about this story is that statement that the existing brewery is in the Heights. I had no idea that the Heights extended outside Loop 610, and I've never heard this location being described as being part of The Heights before. But hey, this was in the Heights/Neartown version of the Chron's "This Week" section, so it had to be connected somehow. Whatever.

In any event, you can see a recent picture of the construction here. That comes from the Saint Arnold Twitter feed. If you're already on Twitter, you surely already follow Saint Arnold there; if you're not, perhaps this will serve as a reason to join up. They really know how to use social networking software over there. More on the brewery move here and here.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on February 02, 2009 to Elsewhere in Houston
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