The making of a brewery

BREVARD — It is a feat that has become the marvel of the brewing world. How Oskar Blues took possession of a recently vacated building at Mountain Industrial park and, less than three months later, began cranking out beer in unprecedented volumes in Western North Carolina is a story of commitment, teamwork and one man’s unwavering ambition to dream big and not let go.

Oskar Blues owner Dale Katechis is known throughout the craft beer industry for his creativity and business savvy, but even the most diehard optimist had to question the feasibility of Katechis’ bold announcement that his brewery’s first production run would take place on Dec. 12, 2012.

“Oskar Blues achieved something that, really, nobody thought they could achieve,” said Parker Platt, vice president and co-owner of Brevard-based Platt Architecture, which Oskar Blues hired to help design and build its East Coast expansion operation. “We were glad to be a part of that, but without their belief that they could do it, it wouldn’t have happened. I told certain people in the community what we were going to do and they laughed at me and said it was impossible. And Dale, to his credit, called me one day and he said, ‘Look, the minute you don’t think we’re going to make it on 12/12/12, you need to tell me.’”

Oskar Blues did make it — just in the nick of time. Eighty-eight days after moving into the 30,000-square-foot building where a company had been manufacturing trusses, the brewery’s mash tun and boiler began feeding the first batch of Dale’s Pale Ale into one of Oskar Blues’ dozens of fermentation tanks, each with the capacity to hold more than 6,000 gallons of beer.

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