- Harrison Berry
- Payette Brewing founder Mike Francis.
Payette Brewing's downtown Boise brewing facility, now under construction at the intersection of Pioneer and River streets, is titanic. At 32,000 square feet, it's big enough for mid-size passenger plane manufacturing. It will open with a 40,000-barrel production capacity and if the owners want, they can expand to 100,000 barrels. It's big.
The space used to be a gymnasium, but it feels like an archaeological site. Workers are putting the finishing touches on new concrete poured in the cavernous brewing area that used to be racquetball courts. Blue and white tiles are all that remain of a swimming pool being filled to make way for a tasting area. There's wall art for kids and graffiti everywhere. In the coming months, someone will paint over most of it, except for a chubby panda munching on leaves near a loading dock.
"The panda can stay," said Payette Brewing founder Mike Francis.
Construction is expected to cost around $4.5 million, and Francis said he plans to open in spring 2016—before summer patio drinking season. As for Payette's Garden City brewery and tasting room, "we're going to make it our R&D brewery—most of our fun stuff," Francis said.