Midnight Sun Brewery settles into new home

EXPANSION: Larger building increases brewing capacity, room for customers.

July 11, 2009 

Mark Staples, owner of the Midnight Sun Brewery inspects kegs in a storage area inside the brewery's new location on Dimond Hook Drive.


Just in time for the long summer nights, Midnight Sun Brewery moved to a new location in South Anchorage.

The new spot offers more brewing capacity and better parking for customers when compared to the old location on Arctic Boulevard, said Gary Busse, Midnight Sun Brewery Co. general manager.

"This is really a dream come true," he said. "We outgrew our other location about five years ago."

Located in the heart of an industrial area, Anchorage's oldest brewery found a location on Dimond Hook Drive, just off East Dimond Boulevard. The new building was being completed when Midnight Sun signed the lease.

"We were searching for something pretty specific," said Mark Staples, owner of the 14-year-old Midnight Sun Brewery. "We were talking about building, when we found this building."

Signing the lease while the contractors were still working on it allowed the brewers to make some changes and even use the building owners' contractors, Staples said.

The new facility offers a brewing area with 10,000-barrel capacity, storage for grain stocks, a cooler, a retail sales area downstairs, offices and 2,000-square-foot loft for retail sales on the second floor. Midnight Sun produced about 2, 500 barrels of beer last year.

With an elevated view of the Chugach Mountains, the owners hope the loft will become a new gathering place.

"We are having a 400-square-foot deck installed on the second floor just off the loft area," said Busse. "This will be great for sunny days this summer."

Decorated in a "modern industrial" style with polished concrete floors and silver corrugated wainscot, the loft upstairs is open from noon to 8 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays.

"The loft seats 36, and we will soon have the deck for more seating outside," said Busse.

The brewery cooked up the first batch of beer in the new location May 5, and had their first drinkable brew several weeks later. Offering 27 different brews that include four sodas, the brewery offers beer by the glass, bottle, keg or growler. There are nine different beers on tap found just off the cooler room downstairs.

For retail sales, the to-go bar is open from noon to 6 p.m. daily.

"In the old location, we had real issues with space. Here, we have ample parking and can increase our brewing capacity," said Staples. "Eventually we hope to offer food from our own kitchen here at the loft."

The brewery added two new tanks to its operations, said Busse.

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