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Goose Island to temporarily outsource Honker’s, India Pale Ale

Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM

Within the next six months, the production of two popular Goose Island beers — Honker’s Ale and India Pale Ale — will shift from Chicago’s Fulton Street to Portsmouth, N.H. — more than 1,000 miles away.

But the change won’t result in any Chicago job losses, said John Hall, president of Goose Island, the city’s largest craft brew producer. In fact, Goose Island plans to add 20 jobs this year.

The outsourcing should only last until Goose Island finds a way to expand capacity in Chicago, Hall said.

To keep up with growing demand, Goose Island signed a three-year contract about six months ago with Craft Brewers Alliance to produce two of its more than 90 different beers in the Alliance’s Portsmouth brewery. Redhook Ale is made at the same site.

Goose Island will maintain a tight rein over quality, Hall said.

“We have to sign off before they can produce anything,” Hall said. “IPA [India Pale Ale] they have been working on for three months. It looks like this last batch was the one we finally approved. It takes time to get it right.’’

Goose Island has expanded every year for 10 years and last year produced 127,000 barrels of beer, up from 110,000 the year before, Hall said.

The outsourcing, he said, allows the company to “have continued growth so that we can look at building a new brewery in Chicago.’’

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