Fernson Brewing expands to offer small-batch beers to more people

March 8, 2018

Fernson Brewing Co. has added equipment to bring its small-batch beers to a larger audience, and the brewery is expanding its distribution territory.

The brewery in north Sioux Falls bought a 5-barrel brewhouse and two 60-barrel fermenters. The equipment is being installed and should be in production next week, said Blake Thompson, who owns Fernson with Derek Fernholz. Test brews will be made in the next couple of weeks, and the new cans of beer should be on shelves later this spring, he said.

“Now we can do our small batches on a bigger scale,” Thompson said. “We can get some specialty things out that typically don’t get to leave our taproom.”

Fernson, which started in 2015, has two taprooms, one at the brewery near Cliff Avenue and Interstate 90, and the other on the east side of downtown at Eighth Street and Weber Avenue. Its beer is distributed in South Dakota and four neighboring states. Craft beer drinkers can find it on tap in bars and restaurants or by the can on store shelves.

“This week, we’re opening up a new market in the Mankato (Minn.) area,” Thompson said. “We’re working toward Minneapolis. Someday, we’ll be there.”

Five of Fernson’s brews are in distribution, with Lion’s Paw Lager responsible for 60 percent of sales and still growing in popularity, he said. But “we’re always searching for that next big seller.”

One of the first small batches that will go through the canning line is a “big juicy” IPA, Thompson said. The brewers also are looking forward to making more wild ales, which go through a different fermentation process, and using more local ingredients in the specialty beers.

Fernson has been making upgrades to its canning line and also added Thompson’s “favorite toy,” a centrifuge for spinning the beer and pulling out the solids from the production process.

“That should add shelf life to our beers and make them pretty clear.”

Last year, with its 30-barrel brewhouse, the brewery produced about 3,000 barrels, or 93,000 gallons, of beer, he said.

“We’ll probably be close to doubling that this year. At least, that’s our goal.”

Fernson Brewing expands to offer small-batch beers to more people

Fernson Brewing Co. has added equipment to bring its small-batch beers to a larger audience, and the brewery is expanding its distribution territory.

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