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Robert Grim operates Doug Haase Excavating’s mini excavator clearing space for the brewery expansion.

Beer times two

The Old Schoolhouse Brewery in Winthrop is aiming to more than double its beer brewing capacity with an expanded building and equipment. Doug Haase Excavating equipment was busy this week, exposing the foundation to prepare for new construction.

"The first two years, we didn’t know if we’d make it," said brew pub manager Stephanie Rodriguez, but this fourth summer has been, "our best year by far. The beer sales are through the roof."

Casey and Laura Ruud own the Old Schoolhouse Brewery, their son Blaze Ruud is the brew master, and his mate, Stephanie Rodriguez, manages the pub. Evan Ruud bottles the brew.

Improvements include a bigger bottling machine, one that can go 50 cases per hour. Three more 15-barrel fermenters are planned and up on Horizon Flats, more construction is under way for offsite cold storage.

"We need to keep up with our distribution needs," said Rodriguez. She explained that the brewery has been able to keep up with distribution demand through the winter months, but that thirsty summer tourists have been drinking all they can brew and sell on tap through the warm months. The expansion will help supply their distributors through the summer.

The brewery’s most popular beers are Ruud Awakening IPA and Hooligan Stout.  Hooligan won a gold medal in a national beer contest.