Zipline Brewing Co.

Assistant Brewer Mark Ruiz checks the clarity of a glass of chocolate double stout as he filters a batch of the seasonal offering last month at Zipline Brewing Co.

To know how successful Zipline Brewing Co. has been, it helps to know what its goals were when it opened in 2012.

Co-founder Tom Wilmoth said the company's goal was to be producing 3,000 barrels of beer a year by its third year in business.

Last year was its second year in business, and it actually produced 4,000 barrels.

This year, thanks to a major expansion it just undertook, Zipline will have the capacity to produce 8,000 barrels of beer at its facility at 2100 Magnum Circle, Suite 1, which is near U.S. 77 and West O Street.

"We're pretty excited about that," Wilmoth said.

The expansion involves three new 80-barrel fermenter tanks that will allow Zipline to brew bigger batches and some new bottling equipment that will increase speeds on the bottling line by 125 percent. All the equipment is in place and should be operating at full speed sometime this month, Wilmoth said.

The new capacity doesn't mean Zipline will double its production this year, however.

"We're trying to grow sustainably," Wilmoth said.

Zipline earlier this year signed a distribution agreement that put its beers into Sioux Falls and other cities in eastern South Dakota. Zipline beers also are distributed in western Iowa.

But don't expect to see the brewery expanding any farther afield for the time being.

Wilmoth said Zipline will work to fill in some distribution holes in northwest and northeast Nebraska, but otherwise, the brewery plans to concentrate on gaining more market share in its core markets of Lincoln and Omaha.

"We're really trying to focus locally," Wilmoth said. "Our motto is to go deep rather than wide."

Another focus in 2015 will be the health of co-founder Marcus Powers.

Powers, who is 30 and has two small children, was diagnosed at the beginning of the year with acute myeloid leukemia, a type of blood cancer.

Wilmoth said Powers has treatments one week every month and "pops in about every three weeks or so" at the brewery when he is feeling well.

"Everybody knows and loves Marcus and his children, and when he shows up it's really a great morale boost for everyone," Wilmoth said.

In an email, Powers said his cancer has already gone into remission, "so I hope to back on the ground within a few months."

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Reach the writer at 402-473-2647 or molberding@journalstar.com. On Twitter @LincolnBizBuzz.


Business editor/reporter

Matt Olberding is a Lincoln native and University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate who has been covering business for the Journal Star since 2005.

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