Just last year, Octopi Brewing completed its 32,000-square-foot addition in Waunakee, and now, already reaching its capacity, the company is pursuing three new expansion plans.
Isaac Showaki, Octopi’s owner and founder, is requesting Tax Incremental Finance (TIF) assistance from the village for an approximately $68 million investment.
Showaki appeared at the village board’s Sept. 21 virtual meeting and described each of the projects.
The first large addition is slated for 14 acres across the street on Uniek Drive owned by Tormach. Octopi is set to close on the property, Showaki said.
“We would love to build a 200,000-square-foot facility,” Showaki said, to be used as a warehouse for shipping and receiving and some variety packing of beverages.
The second project is a 4,000-square-foot brewhouse expansion to the rear of the existing building, which should be completed by March of 2021. Showaki said the company plans to break ground on this soon, and it will allow the brewery to grow to the size of New Glarus’s facility.
The third project is a 95,000- to 100,000-square-foot expansion of the production facility. This will allow Octopi to expand its processing and packaging capacity to keep up with the clients’ demands and plans for future growth, Showaki said. It would be built on 3 acres next to the existing building.
Showaki said in 2019, the company was producing 40,000 barrels. When the expansion was completed, Showaki said it was quickly filled. The COVID-19 pandemic has fueled the company’s growth, he said.
“Now we’re at capacity; we can’t produce more,” he said.
Octopi is running three shifts, five days per week, and also a weekend shift of packaging and brewing.
“We’re going to do 100,000 to 128,000 barrels of production” this year, he said.
Upon reaching the 128,000 barrels, Showaki would like to expand to the west side of the building, he said.
“The next expansion would allow us to brew another 500,000 barrels at capacity and would put us in the top four facilities in Wisconsin when we get that capacity on board,” Showaki told the board.
Showaki broke down the investment of the three additions as follows: $10 million in the brewhouse; $20 million for the warehouse and variety packing line across the street; and $36 million to $38 million for the production facility on the 3 acres just to the west.
Showaki said he expects the expansion will create 40 to 50 new jobs over the next three years, with an average salary of $20 per hour plus benefits.
“We are putting everything we can back to our employees,” he said.
Showaki described the investment in Wisconsin, as well, as the raw materials and packing supplies are bought from Wisconsin companies. In addition, the product is being made for Wisconsin companies and distributed by Wisconsin distributors.
The company has the support of its bank but is facing a financial gap, Showaki said.
“We’re hoping to get the help we need to make it a reality and create something that’s very special and will create a lot value to Waunakee and Wisconsin in general,” Showaki said.
The board convened in closed session following Showaki’s presentation but took no action afterward.
The amount of TIF assistance sought by Octopi is one point of negotiations between Octopi and the village.
Also discussed was how to proceed with the developer’s agreement and amending the Tormach TIF district.
Bryan Kleinmaier, the village’s attorney, said several more public meetings and hearings will be held to discuss Octopi’s TIF request.