Pelican’s Progress Report
“We just bought a new bottling line, so that will be firing up soon,” Welch says. The new line will allow Pelican, which has typically bottled in 22-ounce bombers, to break into the 12-ounce market.
“Look for six-packs of a few of our standard beers like the Kiwanda Cream Ale and the Imperial Pelican Ale,” he says.
Imperial Pelican Ale used to be India Pelican Ale, but Welch says they recently changed the name to better reflect its actual style.
“So the style geeks don’t have to call me any more,” Welch says, laughing. “You were all right. It was really more of an Imperial IPA than a regular IPA. We get it. Stop calling me!”
Welch says the building that will house the new brewery, which used to be a grocery distribution warehouse, is not even vacant until March, but until then, they are busily procuring everything they need to moved in and brewing, including a brand-new brewery by Metacraft.
“We won’t be able to just move in and get started,” he says. “There is going to be a lot of work that goes into that building before we can start brewing. We have a lot of decisions to make even before that.”
One decision is the hiring of a second brand manager, someone who can help position Pelican into the market once the larger brewery starts production and there’s enough beer to sell.
“Until then, there are so many decisions to make — from where to put the drains in the floor to everything surrounding six-packs. We are going to be working with a lot more cardboard here pretty soon,” Welch says.
The production brewery will initially double the brewing capacity of the Pacific City-based business to about 9,000 barrels per year, with plenty of room for growth in the coming years.
Here’s hoping the transition has few growing pains!