Monument City Brewing has always wanted to be hyper-local. Started by brothers Matt and Ken Praay in 2014, the brewery is an homage to all things Baltimore (including one of its lesser known nicknames) and the two brothers did the footwork—quite literally—running around town with growlers to get their product out there.
So after a year-and-a-half of contract brewing out of Peabody Heights co-op facility, it only seems right that they open their own brewery within city limits. Come early November, Monument City will have a brewery at 1 N. Haven Street in Highlandtown.
"We didn't even look at any property outside the city," said Ken, who cited that 94-percent of their beer sales come from inside the beltway. "You pay a little more, but that was always critical to us."
The 12,800-square-foot facility is in the same area as the start-up incubator Emerging Technology Centers, baby goods company Bratt Decor, and wood-working studio Mark Supik and Company (who makes Monument's tap handles). The brewery will start out with a three vessel, 25 hectoliter system imported from Germany and have the ability to produce 20,000 barrels a year.
A rendering of the proposed taproom at the new Monument City brewery. -Courtesy of Monument City Brewing
The brothers, who actually took out some of the automation from the brew equipment to be even more hands on, say they are excited to go from a contract-brewing situation at Peabody Heights to now being able to have a bit more control.
"Peabody Heights was such a great environment to learn and experiment," Matt said. "We're going to be able to tweak what we've learned and produce more limited edition one-offs in the brewery."
In fact, Monument City will be expanding its current core product line from two to four beers, with quarterly seasonal and more small-batch releases, and they'll be moving from bottles to cans once the facility opens. The brewery's team will be expanding from two to four employees, and will be focusing more on the brewhouse operations and sales.
The new brewery will also have a taproom, an area for live music, and the ability to host outdoor events with food trucks in its parking lot. Despite all the exciting changes, the Praay brothers insist they the backbone of their company and its beers—like the popular 51 Rye and newer Battle IPA—will remain the same.
"We are so proud and grateful to Baltimore that our model of staying local has worked," Ken said. "At the heart of it, we're a family brewery and we want to remain an integral part of the local community for as long as they will let us."