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Backpocket Largest Brewery in Iowa

CORALVILLE, IA (CBS2/FOX28) -- Since it opened in July 2012, Backpocket Brewery has been able to double its brewing capacity, making it Iowa's largest brewery. .

The brew room in the back of the Coralville brewery is now packed floor-to-ceiling with shining silver tanks, each able to hold 3,000 gallons of fermenting beer. The brewery started with just one row of seven tanks -- but brewmaster Jake Simmons quickly realized it needed to expand.

"The second row is what we added, and so this is what is going to allow us to grow for the upcoming year," Simmons said.

The brewery is growing by pints and kegs. The new capacity allows them to brew 20,000 per year, "so, 20,000 barrels would be 260,000 cases of beer," totaling nearly 6.4 million bottles of beer every year, Simmons said.

That doesn't touch corporate beer production, but, Simmons said, there's plenty of room in the brew game for everyone.

"Like I said, you only need a very small sliver in order to actually grow an entire industry, much less just a single company," he said.

That growth means something to the customers eating lunch on Wednesday.

"I think that's great for them and great to see this area growing," said Julie Cox.

"It's exciting," said Bert Brook.

And to Simmons, who took three years and a lot of risks to build the place, it means even more.

"To see what you built be what they wanted -- it feels good," he said.

Part of the expansion included smaller tanks where Backpocket can experiment with new flavors. Simmons hopes to increase the number of beers he bottles from those experimental batches in the next two to three months.
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