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Port City Brewing Company Has Close Call After Power Outages

Alexandria company could have lost thousands of gallons of beer following last Friday's derecho storm.

Power outages from last week's storm could have caused Port City Brewing Company to lose thousands of gallons of beer.

The brewing company in Alexandria was without power from Friday, June 29 until Thursday morning. There was no backup generator in place.

“Our brewer, in his 17 years of experience, had never lost a batch of beer from a power outage before,” said Bill Butcher, the brewery's founder. “Because of that and because the systems are very expensive, we chose not to buy a backup generator.”

Butcher said the company was able to rent a generator to keep its “critical systems” operational and keep tanks containing beer temperature-controlled. All other aspects of the business, such as the tasting room, were shut down until Thursday.

The beer was evaluated daily over the five days the company was without power. Employees checked the yeast count and analyzed it on a day-by-day basis.

“Having been shut down for five days has really put us down as far as production,” Butcher said. “It’s going to take us several weeks until we’re caught up and back on track.”

Port City has resumed normal operations and employees will start packaging Friday and begin shipping Monday. Bottling will begin again Monday and proceed throughout the entire week.

Butcher said there are no plans to put a backup generator in place because such lengthy power outages are so infrequent.

“You do the best you can with limited resources and you rent a generator to prevent the loss of the beer,” Butcher said.

Doug July 09, 2012 at 03:49 PM
I'm a big fan of Port City's beers. Bill and his staff are nice people and I enjoy chatting with them when I stop by to resupply my fridge. I'm excited to see how the Derecho Common beer turns out! When life gives you a Derecho, make Derecho Common beer.

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