Regulars at the Kettlehouse's Myrtle Street location will tell you the place can get crowded. Not many years ago, before the brewery built its Northside tap room, it wasn't unusual to see a line of patrons waiting at the door.
Those same regulars will tell you there's been some activity in the neighborhood recently. That's because, according to Kettlehouse co-owner Suzy Rizza, the brewery is expanding into the vacant building next door that once housed an auto repair shop. Kettlehouse has felt "hemmed in" on Myrtle Street for a long time, Rizza says. There's never really been an active expansion plan for the brewery's original home, just the perpetual hope that a space would open up.
"It was more like, 'Well, if a space around us, like, maybe if Le Petit moves, we'll see if we can get that spot,'" Rizza says. "So when the space became available, we said, 'Yeah, we'll take it.'"
In the coming weeks, Kettlehouse will begin shifting its Myrtle Street brewhouse over to the new space. The move will free up room for a bigger tap room as well. But Rizza sees the expansion as less a change than an opportunity to strengthen what's always been Kettlehouse's calling: Brewing and tapping a wide variety of craft beer.
"If anything, I feel like we'll be able to get back more to our roots of having the brewing capacity to be more creative with new styles," Rizza says. "The demand for Cold Smoke and IPA and Eddy Outour canned beersis so high that it takes up a lot of space at both [locations]. If we're able to brew more, I think that will free us up to hopefully brew more newer stuff."
Kettlehouse will reveal more details on the expansion as it begins the remodel. Right now, Rizza hesitates to say when the project might be complete. Late winter, maybe early spring?
"We've remodeled before, and it's like throwing a dart at the dartboard," Rizza says. "That's the guess."