Brewery resumes bottling after fire

Montanette Murphy

Now that bottling has started again at the F.X. Matt Brewing Co., officials hope that canning will follow.

About 6 a.m. Monday, the brewery resumed bottling its pale ale — a little more than a month after a May 29 fire destroyed a processing facility.

But they still are searching for canning equipment, which could be placed in the area where the bottling is taking place or near the filler machines, brewery President Nicholas Matt.

“As soon as we can find equipment, we’ll install it,” Matt said.

Until then, canning will continue at High Falls Brewing Co. in Rochester, where it began June 23.

The Utica brewery hopes to resume its own canning as soon as possible, Matt said, because trucking the beer to Rochester and having High Falls can it has led to an expense of about $2.50 per case.

As for bottling, there were some machinery problems Monday, Matt said, and only one of the two packing machines was working for at least part of the day.

“We are really pleased to be back and running, and we will be in stores for the Fourth,” Matt said. “Some of the equipment is not running at top efficiency, but we are running.”

Normally, workers would use spare parts to repair the machinery, Matt said, but those spare parts were lost in the fire, and as a result workers had to improvise.

The goal was to run 1,500 cases every hour, but because of the machinery malfunction officials expected to do between 1,000 or 1,100 cases an hour. Eighty percent of the brewery’s total production is bottling.

The brewery was bottling its 12-pack pale ale, which is its bestseller, Matt said.

Beer prices haven’t risen as a result of the fire, Matt said, and they will not rise. There might be fuel-related expenses that could cause a price increase, but that remains to be seen, he said.


By the numbers

- Cases per hour goal for F.X. Matt Brewing Co.: 1,500

- Cases per hour on the first day of brewing (limited by machinery malfunctions): 1,000 to 1,100.

- Percent of brewery’s total production that is bottling: 80

- Length of time since fire until bottling resumed: About 32 days