As BRP celebrates our 40th anniversary this year, we are looking back to some of our past projects. This month in the time capsule we explore Springfield Brewing Company, which has been a staple in downtown Springfield, MO since 1997. But how did BrewCo, as it’s affectionally known by locals, come to be?
The Paul Mueller Company is a Springfield based leader in high-quality stainless-steel processing equipment and services. In the mid-1990s, Mueller identified microbreweries as an emerging market for the company. “At that time, Mueller fermentation tanks could be found in numerous breweries and wineries in the US and elsewhere, but a complete brewery system would be a relatively new venture – one that Mueller was prepared to undertake,” explains Tim Rosenbury, BRP Architect & Managing Partner.
Mueller purchased an old brick building located in an underutilized area of downtown Springfield. The building, constructed in 1910, was originally a farmer’s market and served as a wholesale grain and seed business for many years. The initial plan was to construct a pilot plant that would serve as a showroom of Mueller’s capabilities. As the business plan developed, a strong case was made for serving the beer in a pub atmosphere. The idea of a kitchen and dining venue was also added to the plan. With all these uses, an architect was needed, and after reviewing BRP’s experience in the adaptive re-use of buildings, Mueller selected BRP.
The project had several goals. The main goal was to design a space that would showcase their one of a kind stainless steel tanks for the brewery, while also keeping as much original character of the building as possible. “During the design of the project, our guiding objective was, ‘Sell more beer equipment, then more beer,’” says Tim, “The Springfield Brewing Company tells the story of how beer is made and served, and how Mueller’s equipment helps brewers do it best.” At the same time, BRP needed to design a space that created a friendly and engaging atmosphere for a restaurant.
Springfield Brewing Company Streetscape Drawing
When Mueller purchased it, the two-story building was occupied but was significantly under-utilized. The storefront façade was covered in metal panels, and much of the interior was used for storage. BRP was able to preserve the existing brick walls, wood framing and flooring. New wood windows were specified to match the original openings. Exterior masonry was cleaned and tuck-pointed where needed, and inside, brick walls that were plastered were exposed. Likewise, all ceilings were removed to expose the floor and roof structure. The rest of the interior was gutted, and a large opening between the two floors over the bar area was opened.
From the grain silo at the front of the building to the streamlined brewhouse, the brewing components and brewing process are front and center. BRP also highlighted Mueller stainless steel in a variety of unique ways. The steel was used “for handrails, bar top trim, bar rail, even the steel plates used to reinforce the original wood columns and built-up lumber beams,” says Tim.
Mueller stainless steel was used for handrails, bar top trim, bar rail, even the steel plates used to reinforce the original wood columns and built-up lumber beams.