The second-oldest family-owned brewery in the country, August Schell Brewing Co. will break ground in May on a $2 million expansion to increase capacity at the brewery to 250,000 barrels.

Once winter releases its icy grip on the New Ulm, Minn.-based brewery, the brew house and bottle house at Schell’s Brewery will get a facelift. The 1,280 ft2 expansion into the existing hillside will house two new brewing water tanks, a yeast propagation system and an energy recovery system, increasing the overall efficiency of the brewing process.

An 1,800 ft2 building will fill the alley between the current bottle house and cellar area. The first floor will house a new filling room for the existing bottle filler and new can filler. The new can filler will operate at speeds of 550 cans/min. Large windows will be installed for tour viewing of the production area. The second floor will be used for new offices for brewmasters and additional lab space.

In the second phase of the expansion, set to take place later in the year, depending on production requirements, Schell’s Brewery will purchase up to four-750 barrel fermenters, increasing the total capacity at the brewery from 150,000 barrels to 250,000 barrels. Holes will be cut in the existing roof of the bottle house and the 50' tanks, which each weigh 19,000 lb, will be lowered into place.