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Great Escape Beer Works expanding production with Republic brewery

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Great Escape Beer Works LLC has signaled significant expansion plans.

Co-owner Jake Duensing said the company, which opened in Galloway Village in 2018, is targeting an early 2023 launch for a new brewery and production facility in Republic.

"Our intent is to begin our statewide distribution," he said, noting the company's beers currently are distributed in retail locations and restaurants throughout southwest Missouri by Heart of America Beverage Co. "We're going to increase production, and we're talking with some of the distributors across the state right now."

Duensing said Great Escape Beer Works purchased the former Burk Bridge Co. property on the north side of Highway 60, south of the James River Freeway interchange. The 6.3-acre lot has two buildings: One will be used for a 16,000-square-foot production facility, and the other, 11,000-square-foot structure will become a taproom and offices, he said.

"We'll have room to grow if we need," he said.

The new facility will have the capacity to increase Great Escape's production by 15,000 barrels annually, a figure Duensing said will take "a while to get there." Great Escape ranked No. 4 on Springfield Business Journal's January list of the area's largest breweries, with 1,128 barrels produced in 2021. Company officials at the time reported a 127% increase in barrels produced over 2020.

The Republic operation will house the company's primary production, Duensing said, noting the original location in Springfield’s Quarry Town development will remain in operation and serve as its "pilot brewery" with specialty batches.

In Republic, Great Escape's plans include a small kitchen with a limited menu, Duensing said, along with spaces for food trucks on- site.

Duensing, who owns Great Escape with wife Jen and silent partners, declined to disclose the purchase price for the Republic site or the company's planned investment. Declining to disclose annual revenue, he said the company's top three beers are its Woodscraft IPA, Queen City Lager and Lake Beer, an American-style lager.

Great Escape opened its two-story, 3,000-square-foot establishment in Galloway Village in December 2018, according to past reporting.

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