Trillium Brewing Company cofounder JC Tetreault says he didn’t sleep the night before opening the doors to a new brewery in Canton just before Christmas.
“You wonder, is anybody going to show up?” says Tetreault. “It absolutely is everyone’s worst fear, even if it’s an irrational one.”
Tetreault says he had the same feeling when Trillium first launched in Fort Point, in 2013. Then, as now, he shouldn’t have worried. Along with his wife, Esther, Tetreault has quickly built Trillium up to critical acclaim. Long lines have followed the couple 20 miles to their new location.
“We got absolutely crushed,” says Tetreault, who says he saw a spike in the purchase of new growlers, indicating new customers are coming on board. “Just before the Super Bowl was our busiest week ever.”
The new brewery has 16,000 square feet of warehouse and retail space, compared to 2,300 in Fort Point. On a visit to the tiny Fort Point brewery last year, Tetreault joked that there wasn’t a forklift in the back or anything. In Canton, a forklift zips around gleaming, stainless steel fermenters. Employees offer up 2-ounce samples of hoppy beers like Mettle, a double IPA, and Pier, an American wheat ale, to patrons when they walk in. Down the hall, customers can choose from up to 12 beers on draft and nearly as many bottles. Above their heads is a mezzanine level stacked with barrels.
One big adjustment for Trillium has been brewing on larger equipment, a change that has required some recipe tweaks.
“We had a learning curve that we had to get through, and we’re on the other side of it,” says Tetreault.
The Tetraults say their biggest challenge now is to manage growth. They plan to keep both breweries, viewing Fort Point as a valuable retail outlet in the city. In addition, the recent increase in production has meant that a few dozen retail outlets will also start carrying Trillium. But don’t expect to see Trillium outside of Massachusetts, at least not until the brewers can guarantee that supply is closely matched with demand so nothing sits on a shelf.
For now, don’t expect to see Trillium in cans, either.
“There’s a lot of people screaming at us to put our hoppy beer in particular into cans,” says Tetreault. “We’ve got to get our legs under us first before we are able to commit to a different packaging format.”
The Tetraults will take a minute to honor the brewery’s third anniversary on March 21.
“We’re going to do something a little more adventurous in terms of a double IPA style that uses some wine grape must in the recipe,” says Tetreault.
A pilot batch of that beer will be brewed in Fort Point. If all goes well, you’ll see a bigger batch in Canton.
Trillium’s original location is at 369 Congress St., Boston. The new location is at 110 Shawmut Road, Canton.Gary Dzen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GaryDzen.