NAMPA — There’s a new craft brewery in town, and it could end up being the largest in Idaho.
San Diego, California-based Mother Earth Brew Co. will open its tasting room doors for business by Oct. 1, possibly as early as Sept. 24. It is now one of two commercial producers of beer in Nampa.
“When it came to think about where to expand from California, it was an easy choice,” said Daniel Love, founder and CEO of Mother Earth Brew Co.
On the afternoon of Aug. 31, Mother Earth’s warehouse facility was warm and filled with the loud hum of machinery. Spilled beer was pooled on the floor from the testing going on and employees dressed in jeans and black T-shirts were checking the fermenting equipment.
Love, dressed in a green T-shirt that read “I (hop) craft beer,” was talking to two men dressed in slacks, dress shoes and button-up shirts holding clipboards.
“Those were salesman,” Love said after they left. “They stop by a lot.”
He said he may buy from salesman such as that eventually to expand the bottling line.
The CEO and founder of Mother Earth Brewing Co. intends to build out his craft-beer-making facility so that it will produce 60,000 barrels annually — topping the reported capacity of Idaho’s largest brewer, Payette Brewing, of 40,000 barrels — though not at first. The company needs the distribution to match that.
Love led a tour around his brewing equipment, obviously practiced in explaining the process that turns four basic ingredients into the foamy, cool drink that millions love.
Gesturing to the mill outside, Love explained that the malted barley comes from Great Western Malting in Pocatello. Although he already had a contract for the next five years to bring in hops from Washington, Love wants to do everything local as much as he can.
The beer-making process involves, very basically, heating cracked grain to get the sugars can be extracted. Yeast is then used to turn it into alcohol and carbon dioxide, creating beer. It is then carbonated and bottled and allowed to age.
“As much as it is fun, there is still a big science to brewing. There’s a science of water, hops, yeast and grain,” Love explained. “You kind of have to do the best you can at all four of those, and you have to have a lab to make a consistent product.”
Love’s big advice for potential craft brewers is, if they save money, to get a laboratory. It is important ensure you will have the same flavor if you want to go into mass production.
MOVING TO NAMPA
Love and his wife lived in San Diego their entire lives prior to moving to Eagle in October 2015 to open their second brewery. Renovating the 40,000-square-foot warehouse in which it is housed, getting all the right permits and installing the machinery will have taken nearly a year by the time it is open for business.
And the expansion will continue. Love wants to install a larger bottling and packaging line later on. He estimates at full build-out in five years, the brewery will employ 75 to 100 people.
Love’s company had no debt prior to moving to Nampa, but he considers it a worthy $3 million investment.
“This is the first opportunity to go into the red for our business,” Love said.
Love started traveling to Boise as part of his job with Sprint Nextel in the early 2000s and fell in love with the area. His passion for hobby brewing developed into a family-run business in 2008. Mother Earth distributes craft beer to eight states and six countries, and hopes to expand further into the Northwest and eastward with its Nampa facility, located in the Interstate 84 Industrial Park at 1428 Madison Ave.
After scouting around, Love said he and the company’s officials chose Nampa for something simple: its water.
“We tested water everywhere when we came here, and Nampa had the best water,” Love said.
Nampa’s water is a very hard water, Love explained, which works well with the kind of yeast used to create Mother Earth’s brews.
Love added his appreciation for being in an area where craft brewing has so much room to grow and other brewers are helpful to newbies. The community here in the Treasure Valley was very welcoming, he added, citing places like Payette Brewing.
“We think we will have great success here,” Love said. “Boise has a fantastic craft beer scene going on, and I feel like this is just like San Diego was 10 years ago when it was just getting started.”
Mother Earth can be found at Albertsons, Whole Foods, Bosie Co-op, Fred Meyer and in numerous bars throughout the state.