Mira Mesa–based Green Flash Brewing announced this week it has purchased a 10,000-square-foot production brewery and restaurant in Lincoln, Nebraska, where it plans to expand its bicoastal beer brand by the end of the year.
6550 Mira Mesa Boulevard, Mira Mesa
Last fall, Green Flash made its first expansion out of state when it launched a 250,000-barrel production brewery in Virginia Beach, Virginia, primarily to facilitate distribution of its beer brands to East Coast markets. Unlike that brewhouse, which Green Flash assembled, this one was purchased from Lincoln's Ploughshare Brewing Company, which closed in July following three years in business.
The 15-barrel brewhouse is significantly smaller than Green Flash's East Coast and West Coast production facilities, so while long-term plans include distributing fresh Green Flash beer to the region, its primary function will be to better establish the brand in the nation's flyover states.
"Frankly, we don't sell much beer in the Midwest," says Green Flash CEO Mike Hinkley. "Although we're not a really large company with tremendous resources, we have big plans…. For us, that means becoming local or at least regional in more and more places over a long period of time."
With a maximum output estimated at 10,000 barrels per year, much of the focus early on will be Nebraska itself, where no other active brewery tops 9000 barrels of annual production. That's according to Green Flash vice president of retail operations Dave Adams, who visited Lincoln to assess the property with Hinkley when it became available last month. He says locals appeared excited to have the company moving to town.
"Mike and I were walking around out there [wearing Green Flash–branded attire]," says Adams, "and people stopping us in the street, saying, 'We love Green Flash!’ They were really excited."
While he has yet to hire a chef to run the 2000-square-foot restaurant on site, Adams sees the property serving the community with elevated pub fare, made using ingredients sourced from within the large agricultural region, priced affordably to attract students of the University of Nebraska, a large presence in Lincoln.
"The school is huge around there," Adams explains, "especially the [Huskers] football team. So we're definitely going to showcase games…and sell beer to go for tailgaters."
Overseen by Green Flash brewmaster Erik Jensen in Mira Mesa, a small brewing team at the Lincoln brewpub will make and serve both Green Flash and Alpine Beer Co. recipes (Green Flash purchased the latter San Diego brand three years ago).
Most of the estimated 20 brewpub employees will be hired locally, though Adams doesn't rule out the possibility of current brewers moving to Nebraska to run production. "We always want to promote within," he says, "so I'm sure we're going to open it up to everybody internally before we search out there."
Between its production breweries on both coasts, Green Flash already distributes to 50 states. Once the Lincoln property is fully operational and packaging, it will furnish Nebraska and nearby metro areas with beer, resulting in a slight slowdown in production elsewhere.
While Green Flash laid off San Diego employees in January, following its Virginia Beach opening, Hinkley maintains the new brewery “won't impact the number of employees in San Diego or Virginia."