'100 Percent Game'
Showaki said that contract breweries
are often either "too small or really, really
big" for craft brewers, which could limit
their growth on one end of the spectrum
or compromise their quality on the other.
"Whatever you want to use, we're 100
percent game," Showaki said.
That could include everything from
buying a fresh — and more expensive
— batch of yeast to mimicking the water
supply near a client's headquarters.
Showaki noted that Krause, his head
brewer, has a background in water
The brewery itself teems with gleaming
steel tanks and equipment, including
automated fermenters and a hop dosing
system, as well as a "hop back" to add
flavor late in the brewing process.
A centrifuge whips the beer around in
order to filter out any solids remaining in
the brew, while a bottling line can push
more than 9,000 of bottles per hour while
taking on miniscule amounts of oxygen —
and thereby lengthen the beer's shelf life.
The bottling line was produced by
KHS, a German manufacturer whose U.S.
office is just down the road in Waukesha,
Octopi will soon install a KHS x-ray
system that can detect even tiny flaws
in the final beer bottles — the first of its
kind in North America.
The brewery is also a zero-waste
facility. Used ingredients go to a nearby
farmer as either feed or fertilizer, while
a specialist from Oregon's Deschutes
Brewery designed a waste water system
to balance the pH before water is released
back into the environment.
"We overinvested in all the equipment
to make sure that we're prepared,"
Keeping It Contract
Although his brewery is only a few
months old, Showaki noted that the craft
beer industry is always thinking "20 steps
ahead," and he maintains a pretty clear
picture of how Octopi plans to grow.
The brewery, housed in a single
building with its offices and taproom, has
a current capacity of 13,000 barrels per
year and is operated by nine full-time
employees — five in production and four
Showaki hopes to add two to three
employees in production each year and
develop a second and, eventually, a third
The brewery plans to install a canning
line in the near future, and Showaki said
that brewery equipment "can always be
The addition of more fermenters alone
— something the current facility already
has space for — could increase its annual
capacity to 65,000 barrels.
In three to five years, Octopi hopes to
add a second building devoted entirely
to packaging on its Waunakee property.
That could increase its overall capacity to
150,000 barrels, which would be among
the largest in the state.