Willoughby Brewing Co. is expanding by opening a production brewery in Cleveland.

The Willoughby brewpub -- which has long coveted widening its distribution -- has purchased the brewing equipment from the former Buckeye Brewing Co. and will occupy Buckeye's former site in the Walford Industrial Park.

Willoughby, which opened in 1998, will continue to operate its brewpub, along with the production site, which, at least initially, won't have a tasting room on site.

“This acquisition allows us to expand and meet the growing demand for our beers, not only in draft format but also packaged for retail distribution,” award-winning brewmaster Rick Seibt said in a prepared statement announcing the acquisition. “For years we’ve been trying to expand at our current location, but we just haven’t been able to secure the space to make it happen. The new facility will increase our capacity three-fold and offers additional space for even more capacity.”

Seibt also is a partner in the new venture and has left his full-time non-brewing job.

"It's nice to focus on brewing now," he said Saturday in a follow-up interview.

The 15-barrel system will produce draft for the Cleveland market, with plans to add cans likely starting next year. Willoughby fans can expect Peanut Butter Cup Coffee Porter, Nut Smasher, Cosmic IPA and Kaiserhof Kolsch to be among the first brands hitting wider distribution.

The competition for distribution is tough with the growth in the craft beer industry, but Willoughby is confident in its brand recognition in the local market, Seibt said.