Free Flow Wines, which works with vintners to make their premium wines available on tap, plans to relocate from Napa to Sonoma early next year. The company had expanded from Sonoma to Napa five years ago.
The 9-year-old company is set to move to a building under construction at 14900 Carneros Lake Lane in Carneros Business Park in January, Free Flow Wines announced. The new facility is designed to include a state-of-the-art line for transferring delicate wine into kegs, expanded services for filling single-serving cans, temperature-controlled bulk wine storage and more office space.
And to manage the expanding operations and company growth, Free Flow appointed Rich Bouwer chief operating officer.
“Free Flow has been building the premium wine on tap category for nearly a decade," states Jordan Kivelstadt, CEO and co-founder. "Our facility expansion will allow us to improve services and increase capacity, helping us achieve our goal of saving more than 100 million bottles from the landfill in the coming years."
Free Flow’s increased production capacity will accommodate filling up to 1.1 million kegs and 5 million cases of cans per year. A new custom-designed Comac kegging line is designed to fill 150 kegs per hour, with predesigned modules that can increase capacity to 300 kegs per hour.
With capacity for storing up to 375,000 gallons, the expanded bulk-wine storage program is being configured to allow Free Flow’s customers to have more fill-on-demand flexibility, improve bulk logistics and lower costs.
In conjunction with the move, Free Flow will be partnering with CanSource, the leader in can-sleeving services in the U.S. and Canada, to outfit the Sonoma facility.
“Free Flow revolutionized the wine-on-tap category, and now together we will do the same with wine-in-a-can,” said Pat Hartman, co-owner of CanSource, in the announcement. "Our strategic partnership will allow us to be a one-stop-shop for labeling, filling and packaging all under one roof, allowing our joint customers more flexibility while driving costs down."
Free Flow said it will continue to reclaim 95 percent of process wastewater, or about 11 million gallons per year. The new facility is specified to have a Cloacina industrial membrane bioreactor.
Troy Ellison, general manager of Cloacina, said the closed-loop water-reclamation system designed for Free Flow is sized to save 28 acre-feet annually from being pumped from the Sonoma Valley aquifer.
Bouwer began his new role as Free Flow’s operations chief on June 11. He has held previous roles at Saxco International, Treasury Wine Estates and Gallo, and brings more than 25 years of operational and leadership experience.
“(Free Flow has) been changing the way premium wine is delivered to restaurants and venues, and I look forward to being a part of the continued success with this first-rate team,” said Bouwer in the press release.
Free Flow also has expanded its board of directors, adding Richard Gerstein and Lane Cardwell. They have experience in the logistics and restaurant industries.
Founded in 2009, Free Flow leases kegs, fills them, and handles logistics of getting the kegs to and from trade accounts such as restaurants, hotels, retail stores, sports and entertainment venues across the U.S. In addition to Napa, Free Flow kegs for the East Coast from Bayonne, New Jersey, .
Free Flow has more than 250 wine brands in keg from wineries throughout North America, South America, New Zealand, Australia and Europe.