2023 News

A Client for Life: Baker Group Works Hand-in-Hand with Exile Brewing

A Client for Life: Baker Group Works Hand-in-Hand with Exile Brewing

While Exile Brewing has gone to great lengths to create a jovial environment in its brewpub on the western edge of downtown Des Moines, the tasting room and restaurant offer only a glimpse of what is a complex manufacturing operation. To maintain optimal efficiency with a web of equipment that includes boilers, chillers, compressors and more, Exile leans on a partner for life in Baker Group. 

Growing the Brand
The brewery was founded by R.J. Tursi and his dad, Bob Tursi, and at any given time has five to eight original Exile branded craft beers on tap in its tasting room and at bars and restaurants across the region. Additionally, Exile beers are packaged for sale and available at retailers in Iowa and beyond. 

The brewery and tasting room were launched in 2012 from the historic F.W. Fitch Company warehouse on the far western edge of downtown Des Moines. The building housed the legendary personal care products packager for decades in the early 1900s. From its start, Exile went to great lengths to maintain the historic vibe of the building. 

It was a modest project that introduced Exile to the array of services offered under the Baker Group umbrella. 

Shortly after its founding, Exile was looking to add a Quality Assurance and Quality Control (QAQC) lab. The lab would serve an essential role in the brewer’s testing process, ensuring that consistency in the product could be managed from day to day. Baker Group’s span of expertise proved perfect for the job that required the overhaul of an office space and some industrial piping work. 

On the heels of that project came a series of more complex jobs. The first was the east expansion of the brewery that included an addition of 4,000 square feet, plumbing and process piping and the installation of a process chiller. Next came the installation of a spent grain pump, a spent grain silo, a CO2 bulk tank, and a complex network of piping to support the additions. 

As Exile racked up awards for brewing excellence and gained a wide and loyal following, an ambitious expansion was launched in 2015 with Baker Group playing a key role.

More than just an addition, Exile made it clear that the project honor the history and maintain the integrity of its historic headquarters. Exile worked with the National Park Service to make sure all the materials used would reflect the original building. Baker Group was instrumental in the design and installation of a boiler, the remodel of the boiler room and the installation of brew house and packaging equipment.

Expanding the Partnership
As Exile made Baker Group the choice for the increasingly complex projects, it only made sense to expand the partnership to include ongoing maintenance and support. Brian Schwartz, Service Account Executive at Baker Group, works closely with the team at Exile to meet a variety of needs.

“Our relationship is kind of two-fold,” Schwartz says. “We are very intentional about the preventative maintenance we perform. Our intent there is to identify potential issues before they become a problem that impacts operations. We also are prepared to be Exile’s first call in the case of an emergency. Our emphasis is on developing a partner for life relationship by building trust in our expertise while delivering an unmatched level of customer service.” 

Max Keller, Director of Operations at Exile, says the hand-in-hand arrangement with Baker Group has helped to maintain an efficient and effective operation. 

“The comprehensive scope of expertise Baker Group brings to the table has helped us to ensure our operations run smoothly,” Keller says. “Just having the level of consistency they bring provides us an incredible sense of confidence that we are operating at peak efficiency. But, we also know that when something inevitably does go wrong, we can make one phone call and it will be addressed immediately.” 

Providing Peace of Mind
Schwartz says the relationship between Exile and Baker Group does more than simply provide a hotline to call in an emergency. Baker Group’s approach to identifying issues before they become problems has proved valuable to Exile. 

“You want to be able to minimize disruptions throughout the manufacturing process,” Schwartz says. “First, by maintaining continuous operations you are ensuring that you can meet your customer demand and get your product out to market. But there is another benefit. Having confidence that operations are going to run consistently allows for more predictability. That greatly limits variability in costs and is crucial when it comes to budgeting.” 

Keller says he sees Baker Group as an extension of his production team. 

“Working with Baker Group has been a positive experience for us,” Keller says. “It’s hard to put a price on the peace of mind they provide. I know that when I place a call for assistance that there is going to be someone on the other end that is ready, willing, and able to help.” 

A Special Brew
While Exile typically leans on Baker Group for support, the roles were reversed recently as Baker Group looked for a unique way to mark its 60th anniversary during 2023. Baker Group turned to Exile to create a special craft beer that would honor the roots of the company, which was founded on Des Moines’ east side in 1963. 

“We are always looking for cool collaborations to do in the craft beer industry,” Keller says. “When Baker Group came to us with the idea, a couple things stood out. First and foremost, our existing partnership made us excited to embark on a project like this. The second thing is that they had a very clear vision of what they wanted. That made it a fun challenge for us.” 

The result of the partnership is Bernie, a full-flavored steam beer capturing the boldness of Baker Group’s “Lee Township vs. the World” approach. The name pays homage to Baker Group founder Bernie Baker. Check out the Bernie Steam Beer video here

Schwartz says Baker Group had full confidence that Exile would knock the brew out of the park. 

“We took it to Exile because they value our relationship and trust us to provide critical services for them,” Schwartz says. “This was another step as we continue to develop our relationship with Exile and ensure that we maintain them as a partner for life.”

About Baker Group

Baker Group is a commercial and industrial specialty contractor based in Ankeny, Iowa. With more than 1,100 employees, Baker Group is the Midwest’s premier full-service specialty contractor providing mechanical, industrial, sheet metal, electrical, building automation, process automation, security systems, fire alarm systems, parking/revenue controls and 24/7/365 service. For more information, call 855.262.4000 or visit www.thebakergroup.com.


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Best of Business Record Award

Baker Group was recognized by readers of the Des Moines Business Record for best Mechanical Contractor, Electrical Contractor, Security Company and Best Company to Work For in 2023.

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Best of Business Record Award

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