The beer fermentation cellar is still under construction, but it’s an impressive sight with neatly stacked tanks — about eight more than the old place.
“I did the math, and if every tank is full, there are a million bottles of beer in here,” Martin said.
The brew house in the next room over — where the beer is actually brewed — can produce twice as much as the old facility, some 60 barrels as opposed to 30 barrels at a time. Martin still plans to install another 30-barrel brewer, for a total of 90 barrels. Each barrel is 31 gallons. The company also produces beer for several smaller craft brewers.
To describe the production volume, Martin pulled out his cellphone calculator and started talking to himself. He estimates that at the old facility, the volume of 24,000 barrels last year would line beer bottles side-by-side standing up from Ipswich to Philly. Now it can make its way back to Ipswich, he said.
After 23 years at the old location, Martin said it was time to move. He called the old brewery a “disaster,” with tanks stacked on top of each other and the bottle line weaving in strange places. There was no room for workers to move around easily, he said.
“What we ran into was we really couldn’t brew any more beer,” Martin said. “There weren’t enough hours in the day.”
Martin said there was no easy time to move, as crews juggled producing beer at both facilities for a while, with scheduling being the biggest challenge. The 12-ounce bottle run was the trickiest, he said.
“We stocked up on beer, and it took us about six weeks to get that line,” he said. “As space became available, if a tank was empty and available, we could move it.”
Ipswich Ale’s signature beer was introduced in 1991. A Topsfield native, Martin joined the company in 1995 as an employee of the original owners and bought the business at the end of 1999.