Crowds of beer lovers lined up to enter Wormtown Brewery’s Shrewsbury Street taproom on Saturday, as the Worcester craft beer company celebrated its eighth birthday.
The all-day party, featuring food from Smokestack Urban Barbecue, puzzles by Escape Games Worcester and the last remaining keg of Wormtown’s sought-after Dunkin’ Donuts coffee stout, marked the end of an ambitious and transitional year for Wormtown.
The brewery is in the midst of dramatically expanding its brewing capacity, and in the last year increased its distribution to the entire state of Massachusetts and limited venues in Rhode Island. And Wormtown has announced plans to open a taproom in Keene, New Hampshire.
2017 also marked the departure of the brewery’s co-founder Tom Oliveri, who sold his his share of the business to Richard and Jay Clarke, former owners of Clarke Distributors Inc.
In all, the brewery’s seventh year was very successful, said Wormtown Brewery majority owner David Fields — and the eighth promises even bigger things.
“Business has been unbelievable,” Fields said.
Wormtown recently added 7,500 square feet of packaging space in a building next to the brewery, and is in the process of adding a faster and more advanced canning line next month, Fields said.
“You’ll be able to see more cans with a higher quality packaging,” Fields said.
The brewery is also adding another 4,500 square feet of fermentation space within its headquarters, allowing the company to continue its rapid increase in production. Wormtown produced about 21,000 barrels of beer in 2017, Fields said, and is targeting 30,000 barrels for this year.
“We’re going to 40,000 as soon as we can,” he said.
The company has also developed a reputation for brewing collaborations with local companies. In addition to its Dunkin’ Donuts beer, Wormtown produced a pumpkin pie beer with Table Talk Pies and a brew made in tandem with Hudson’s Medusa Brewing Company last year.
Fields teased another collaboration with a “great Worcester company” in the works for this year, saying it was too early to announce details.
“It’s a four year project in the making, and this year it looks like they’ve finally greenlighted it,” Fields said. “We’ll see what happens.”
The birthday celebration coincided with St. Patrick’s Day, and the brewery quickly filled with green-clothed patrons who filled their glasses, listened to live music from Marlborough guitarist and singer Adam Makes Noise and played with a set of giant Jenga blocks.