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Mustang Brewing optimistic for recovery of brewhouse after storm

by Nick Trougakos Modified: June 2, 2013 at 1:20 pm •  Published: June 2, 2013

Within three hours of the deadly May 20 tornado that tore through Moore, Mustang Brewing Co. announced plans to open up the doors to its Oklahoma City warehouse to take donations for those affected by the storm.

After helping so many — the company’s 12,000-square-foot warehouse was filled with relief items — now it’s Mustang Brewing that finds itself in need of a hand.

The company’s brewhouse on E Sheridan Avenue was hit by Friday night’s storm, collapsing the roof and crashing debris onto several stainless steel tanks used in the brewing process.

“It’s just a little irony that two weeks later, our brewhouse was taken out,” Mustang President Tim Schoelen said.

Nobody was at the brewhouse, also known as the OKCity Brewing Cooperative, at the time of the storms. The building also contains warehouse and storage space and an office area, but those areas did not sustain damage, Schoelen said.

“We’ve looked at some of the surveillance footage and you can see debris spinning around before the cameras were knocked out of commission,” Schoelen said.

He said it is not clear if the building took a direct hit from a tornado or if  downdraft or straight-line winds may have struck the facility.

On Saturday, members of the Mustang team and brewers from Black Mesa Brewing Co. and Anthem Brewing Co., who also use the cooperative, arrived at the building to assess damage.

Debris littered the brewing area and a large roof-top air conditioning unit was hanging precariously from the edge of the gaping ceiling. Fire officials warned the brewers not to go near the air conditioner for fear it may come loose and crash to the floor.

Several batches of in-progress beer from Mustang and Black Mesa were housed in the tanks at the brewhouse. It’s not clear if those batches will be saved. It also was not clear how extensively the towering stainless steel brewing and fermenting tanks were damaged.

Schoelen said he is not yet able to assess how the damage will affect on-site production. He said his team was awaiting the arrival of insurance adjusters on Monday before embarking on more intensive clean-up efforts.

Mustang will continue production of its bottled beer off-site through existing brewing partnerships. OKCity serves as the center of the Mustang’s kegging operations. Schoelen said he believes a two- to three-months’ supply of kegs are in the market now.

He said the company has received a “huge outpouring of support” from the public, including from some of Oklahoma’s other brewers.

“Equipment and products can be rebuilt and rebrewed,” Schoelen said, adding that the most important thing is that his staff was safe from the storms.

by Nick Trougakos
Local Editor
Local Editor Nick Trougakos has been with The Oklahoman since 2002. Trougakos covered the military, federal agencies and courts before becoming an editor in 2005. Prior to joining The Oklahoman, Trougakos was a reporter for the Oklahoma City...
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