With a new 11,000-square-foot facility, the guys from Great Flood Brewery are increasing annual production from 300 barrels to more than 4,000. Their new facility features a new 465-gallon brew system with six fermenters and a five-head canning line, which can fill and seal 40 cans per minute.
Outside of the cool brewing equipment, the Shelby Park office space is filled with hand-me-down couches and an old fridge. Which is about what you’d expect from a trio of entrepreneurs just a few years removed from the University of Louisville business school.
“We were friends in college, in business school,” said Zach Barnes, who started home brewing with Matt Fuller and Vince Cain in 2012, buying their first brew kit with a Groupon. They opened the business in 2014.
“We had the same interests,” said Fuller, during an EatDrinkTalk podcast interview. “Basically we started drinking some beer, and we were drinking whatever is at the party or on special. Then you try something that’s a seasonal, or special, and that light went on that this is kind of cool. I didn’t know beer could taste like this.”
Fuller said that after trying corporate jobs out of school, the trio came together and started Great Flood by opening a Tap Room in the Highlands, selling the small batches of beer they were making.
“A lot of our regular clientele lives within a mile of our Tap Room, and that’s something we only dreamt of,” he said. “That support has allowed us to get more customers from our production side through the rest of the city, and make our name for good beer known.”
Moving to the huge facility in Shelby Park marked a milestone, and Mayor Greg Fischer came to the March 24 ribbon cutting.
“Here in Louisville we have heritage beer brands and then we have beer brands built on heritage, and the future is bright for both. The success of Great Flood Brewing Co. is great news for the Shelby Park neighborhood and for our growing craft beer scene,” said Fischer. “We are thrilled to see that Louisville has embraced this hometown brand and hope to see continued growth in the future.”
Running a small business means, of course, that each member of the team has a specific role, but everyone pitches in on every task. Fuller runs the production, Barnes handles numbers and Cain does sales and marketing.
“The three of us are in production, sales and finance, and janitorial,” Barnes said. “We do a little bit of everything. Being from Louisville, we want to make sure and put a precedent on establishing relationships here.”
With the increased capacity, Fuller said Great Flood can focus on scaling upward.
“It takes the same amount of time and similar effort — and in a 12-13 hour day and you end up with a lot more beer.”
“We have a lot of new toys and that’s made life easier,” he said. “We put a lot of time and money into our lab. So we’ve got a commitment to quality and consistency. Keeping that in the forefront is something we get excited about,” he said.
Now that it has the production capability, Great Flood’s owners are taking the brand to bars and retailers throughout the state.