By Dan Linehan
---- — NORTH MANKATO — Mankato Brewery will be growing its production by 40 percent while expanding its service area in the Twin Cities.
The company has had trouble keeping up with its orders, co-founder Tim Tupy said, so the owners decided to buy new fermentation tanks ahead of schedule. With the new equipment, slated to arrive next week and begin production within a month, the brewery will be making nearly 3,000 barrels, or 93,000 gallons, a year.
The extra capacity also allows the brewery to seek more customers.
It has signed an agreement with Capitol Beverage of Minneapolis, which will become its sixth distributor. The deal adds much of the Twin Cities, including its northern suburbs, to Mankato Brewery’s distribution area. In terms of population, it is the brewery’s largest distributor.
Mankato Brewery is also introducing a new beer, called Saffron Kilt. The Scottish reference comes from Head Brewer Bobby Blasey, who plays the bagpipes. Saffron Kilt doesn’t contain the spice, though it does have its gold-brown color.
Tupy said Saffron Kilt is a pale ale with a spicy, citrus-like taste that uses Irish whiskey distiller’s malts, or grains. The beer is slated to be released Friday, but bars that stock a new beer usually have to replace an existing beer. And the bars will likely use all of their existing beer first, meaning the rollout of Saffron Kilt could actually be several days after Friday at any given bar.
To celebrate the expansion and the brewery’s second anniversary, it is hosting a party on Saturday that includes free tours at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. The party starts at 6 p.m., and includes music from The Barefoot Winos and food from Pub 500 and NaKato.