ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Anheuser-Busch doesn’t have to start trembling just yet, but if all goes as planned a two-year-old St. Louis brewery could soon become the largest craft beer maker in town.
The owners of Urban Chestnut take their plans for expansion before the Forest Park Southeast Development Committee at 5:30 pm Tuesday.
Florian Kuplent, co-owner of Urban Chestnut along with David Wolfe, says once production finally got underway more than a year ago, the challenge became trying to gain a foothold in the ultra-competitive beer market.
“We just literally went from bar to bar in the beginning,” Kuplent tells KMOX News. “We had people try our beer, and eventually we were able to have (bar owners) take our beer on draft. Then people liked the beer and kept asking about bottles.”
On this day an endless row of brown glass bottles imported from Germany clink and clatter their way along a production line at a small brewing facility in the 3200 block of Washington Avenue, getting filled with beer and then slapped with a label reading “Schnickelfritz”.
It’s just one of the brands in Urban Chestnut’s two-pronged strategy to create a niche in a beer-soaked U.S. market.
“We have two lines,” Kuplent explains. “One is called the Reverence series where we try to recreate very classic European styles. And then we have a line called the Revolution series where we try to come up with new recipes using unusual ingredients, or combining ingredients in a new way.”
If they eventually get the okay to open a second brewery in the Grove neighborhood, Urban Chestnut would add dozens of new jobs and crank out a lot more product.
Once the location in the old Renard Paper Co. building opened in early 2014 it would instantly quadruple the brewery’s output, eventually reaching 100,000 barrels annually.
But again Kuplent says the folks across town at A-B, his former employers, likely aren’t too worried.
“I mean, I don’t they would consider us competition because we’re so small,” he chuckles.
However, expansion would make Urban Chestnut the largest craft brewery in St. Louis surpassing Schlafly, which Kuplent says has been instrumental in helping his fledgling brewery get up and running.