Lagunitas Brewing Co has become the latest US west coast craft brewer to expand its operations by kicking off production at a brewing facility in Chicago.

The California-based firm, the country's fifth largest craft brewer by volume, bottled the first batch of its flagship IPA last week at the 300,000 square-foot site, the company revealed on its website. The Chicago facility will initially have an annual capacity of around 500,000 barrels, the same as its facility in Petaluma, California, the Chicago Tribune reported.

However, capacity at the new site is due to double by the middle of next year, once extra equipment from Germany is up and running, the paper said.

Last year, Lagunitas said it would spend US$22m on equipment for the Chicago site. The company is also planning to open a brewery tap room, with a bar and restaurant at the location.

Lagunitas' brands include its flagship IPA, Little Sumpin' Sumpin' and Dog Town Pale. 

Fellow California craft brewer Sierra Nevada began commerical production at its new North Carolina facility earlier this year