Semis with our giant grain orders can’t get through the alley behind Fat Hill lately because of some bigtime construction stuff, so we took a road trip last week to the Brewing Supply Group (BSG) Warehouse in Shakopee to pick up ingredients ourselves. This may sound like a hassle, but whatever the city is doing in the alley sounds very important so we are absolutely cool with it, and our grain road trip turned out pretty darn amazing. Why? They gave us a tour of the warehouse!
Owning a brewery has given us the opportunity for so many unexpectedly cool experiences - tours, visits, or connections that would have been such oddball ideas back in our everyday-at-the-office lives a few years ago. The BSG Warehouse tour was definitely one of those we’re-going-to-do-what-now? experiences that we have come to love.
The first thing you notice about the 80,000 square-foot warehouse is obviously its vastness. It goes on and on and on, pallets of stuff stacked to the ceiling. BSG is one of the biggest distributors of ingredients for breweries in the US and pallets of grain, hops, and adjuncts come in and out of its loading dock all day long. Here’s the moment on the tour when BSG’s Warehouse Manager Matt Smith tells Brewer Jake that two silo’s worth of grain goes through their facility EVERY DAY:
The automation they have in place is very cool. Here is a video of the bagger machine in its section where bags are fluffed out and then filled with malt. Much of the malt comes from BSG’s sister company down the street, Rahr Malting. The bagger machine can fill twenty 55-pound bags per minute!
Grain orders usually come to breweries with a treat on the bottom of the pallet - a sort of reward for hauling 55-pound sacks of grain all over the place. Finding free candy at the bottom of a pallet makes any brewer’s day, so when the tour took us to the adjunct and “miscellaneous” room at the warehouse, we were pretty excited to see the candy section. Currently, BSG buys Pearson’s Salted Nut Rolls by the pallet. THE PALLET.
The last stop on the tour was the customer pick-up area, in which Brewer Jake immediately recognized our order. It was the tiniest one on the shelf that day. Since we’re in our grocery-getter SUV, we only picked up stuff for one batch of beer. Still 600 pounds of stuff though, so not too shabby!
And guess what… they didn’t forget our treat!
Miraculously, everything fit into the car:
Thanks very much to BSG Warehouse Manager Matt Smith for the great tour! It was so fun to see where so much of our grain comes from!