Shipyard Brewing Company is expanding its brewing operation to Memphis, a move that will help the company increase production of its Pumpkinhead ale and offer Shipyard Export in cans for the first time.

The company announced today that it has leased space with City Brewing, a Memphis co-packing facility that has four can lines, so that Shipyard can expand its overall brewing capacity.

Shipyard had to build three 1,000-barrel open-fermentation tanks for the Memphis space so that it can continue to use the same open-top fermentation brewing process used in its Portland brewery.

Tami Kennedy, spokeswoman for Shipyard, said that in order to expand in Maine, the company would have had to build a new plant from scratch at another location so that it could add canning lines. She said expanding in Memphis was “a strategic decision.”

“We just don’t have the space,” she said. “We’d actually take up our whole back parking lot, and it would be impossible for trucks to get into the loading dock.”

Alan Pugsley, master brewer at Shipyard, made the first batch of Memphis-brewed Shipyard Export Ale in June, and it will be available in cans in Maine starting next week. Shipyard Pumpkinhead will be available in cans this fall.

Kennedy said it’s “great timing” to get into cans in the craft-beer industry.  But another factor in the move to Memphis, he said, was the growing national craze for pumpkin-flavored beer, which led to shortages of Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale last fall.

“We actually were not able to keep up with consumer demand,” Kennedy said. “Seriously, by the skin of our teeth we were able to fill orders. And it became such that we couldn’t brew some of our other core brands because we were just trying to keep up with that demand.

“So I’m Three Dollar Dewey’s, and I can’t get a keg of Shipyard Export because we’re just cranking out Pumpkinhead. We knew we needed to address that for this season.”

Kennedy said three-quarters of Pumpkinhead sales are out of state.

“Last year, Pumpkin Mania hit in America,” she said. “I can’t explain it, but it definitely did. So we are armed and ready for pumpkin season this year.”

This isn’t Shipyard’s first foray into out-of-state brewing. The company has a microbrewery in Orlando International Airport that opened in 1997 and the Shipyard Brew Pub in Winter Park, Fla. operates its own nanobrewery.

The company says it also plans to open a 20-barrel brewing facility somewhere in Florida later this year.

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