Zero Gravity expands into old Magic Hat facility

Published: Apr. 5, 2021 at 6:27 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - A well-known Vermont craft brewery is expanding into a familiar facility. Zero Gravity is moving into the old Magic Hat brewery. Our Ike Bendavid gives you a look inside and finds out if the new location will change anything for fans of Zero Gravity’s beers.

At the Zero Gravity Brewery on Pine Street in Burlington, it’s common to see people stopping by for a brew.

But even in a crowded craft brew scene in Vermont, the success of Zero Gravity has led them to grow past the Pine Street location.

“We got to the point, we hit our capacity ceiling at our Pine Street brewery sooner than we thought we would,” said Matt Wilson, the CEO of Zero Gravity.

The original Pine Street location is not closing. They are expanding.

Zero Gravity is moving into the old Magic Hat brewing facility after a deal this past summer. Zero Gravity has been brewing and canning in the South Burlington spot since July.

Wilson says taking over this local functional brewery makes it easier to grow at their own pace.

“Because we didn’t have to invest so heavily into this place, we didn’t take on crazy new debt or anything like that, there isn’t a lot of pressure on us realizing extreme growth beyond what we have been doing,” he explained.

Wilson says their Pine Street location hit capacity at 25,000 barrels of beer a year.

In their prime, Wilson says Magic Hat could put out 200,000 barrels from the South Burlington building.

Wilson says the plan is to stay true to who they have always been.

“We kind of put ourselves in a position where we could continue to just be doing what we’ve been doing,” he said.

But with more space, there will be some benefits for beer drinkers.

“One of the things-- the biggest thing that this facility will unlock for us is the ability to focus on more stuff,” Wilson said.

“Most people were really excited when they got this bigger production brewery so they can get more of the specialty and one-off releases, not just the mainstays,” said Jeff Baker, and author and historian of Vermont beer. “I don’t think this is going to follow the same trajectory as Magic Hat. This seems a lot more of an organic growth structure.”

And consumers hope the growth benefits them.

“I think as long as they stay true to... there is a certain carrying capacity for microbreweries of any kind, some places have done it successfully, some places not so much,” said Matthew Wagner of Burlington.

And a bonus, Zero Gravity didn’t just get Magic Hat’s building. They were also able to keep some of Magic Hat’s employees when the company left town for New York.

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