The Crossroads will have a sixth brewery by the end of the year.
Co-founders James Stutsman, Grant Waner and Joe Giammonco recently announced plans to build City Barrel Brewing Company (1916 Grand St.), a 15-barrel brewery with a 2,500 square-foot taproom that seats 150 people. A 1,000 square-foot patio with an additional 75 seats will face Grand Street. Located in a former 7,800 square-foot paper warehouse, City Barrel Brewing will join Border Brewing, Double Shift Brewing, Torn Label Brewing, Casual Animal and Brewery Emperial in the Crossroads.
“I’ve always wanted to open a brewery, but I wanted to find the right niche,” Stutsman said.
Stutsman brings ample industry experience to this $1.1 million venture. Previously, he worked in sales and marketing at Kansas City Bier Company and Deschutes Brewery. Based in Bend, Oregon, Deschutes ranked seventh on the 2014 list of 50 largest U.S. craft breweries by sales, according to the Brewers Association.
“I learned so much from helping to build Kansas City Bier as a startup over two years,” Stutsman said. “And Deschutes knows how to operate an incredible business.”
When Stutsman met Waner three years ago, their friendship and mutual interest in craft beer blossomed into a business plan.
“We became buddies,” Stutsman said. “I drank his homebrewed beer and became convinced that we could open a brewery. We’ve been working on this business plan and financing for eight months.”
Waner currently works as a regional manager for Tallgrass Brewing Company. He also worked at an Anheuser-Busch distributor for 10 years. Waner will attend Siebel Institute’s World Beer Academy in Chicago, Illinois, in May to prepare for his upcoming role as professional brewer.
Giammonco, a certified public accountant and former owner of Pooches Paradise, a dog daycare and pet spa, contributes operational experience and a share of investment to the startup project.
Stutsman pointed to Side Project Cellar and Brewery as a similar model for City Barrel. The St. Louis brewery produces highly-regarded, sought-after beers and operates a separate taproom with a wine bar atmosphere and setting.
“We will focus on hoppy, sour, and barrel-aged beers,” Stutsman said. “We’ll have New England IPAs, a West Coast IPA and a sour program. The sour beer craze is underdeveloped in Kansas City. Our taproom will differ from traditional taprooms. Think wine bar meets craft beer bar. It’s swanky yet inviting.”
City Barrel acquired its 15-barrel brewhouse from a Tampa, Florida, brewery. City Barrel will also utilize two 30-barrel oak foeders and stainless steel tanks built by Foeder Crafters of America in St. Louis, Missouri. Foeders, large wooden vats traditionally used to age wine, have been used by breweries such as Side Project to age large volumes of sour beer. City Barrel also plans to secure an inventory of 50 wine and spirits barrels for its beer barrel-aging program.
The brewery plans to obtain “a canning line to produce four-packs of 16-ounce cans from day one,” Stutsman said. “City Barrel will be a taproom, liquor store for packaged beer, and event space.”
The taproom will have 10 taps with four taps allotted for “friends and family,” a reference to other breweries that have a close relationship with City Barrel’s founders.
Double Shift Brewing Signs Distribution Deal
Double Shift Brewing (412 E. 18th St.), a brewery and taproom in the East Crossroads, recently signed a deal with Craft Republic to begin distribution of its beers in kegs throughout Kansas City, beginning March 13. The move to distribution signals a major growth step for a local brewery that opened in mid-2015.
“We are really looking forward to this step for us,” Double Shift founder Aaron Ogilvie said. “We are truly excited to make our beer more accessible to the everyday beer drinker, and look forward to the opportunities it may bring.”
Double Shift boosted its brewhouse production to prepare for this growth.
“From a production standpoint, we doubled our fermentation capacity last year from our initial 30 barrels [comprised of] two five-barrel fermenters and two 10-barrel fermenters,” brewer Bryan Stewart said. “Now we’re running with six 10-barrel fermenters. This allowed us to produce far more product in anticipation of eventual distribution plans. Additionally, we have been working to increase workflow and employee efficiency in the brewhouse to compensate for the breakneck brewing schedule.”
Double Shift will distribute its core beers, including Tessellation Mosaic IPA, Sister Abby Belgian Dubbel, Tin Foil Hat Oat/Rye Farmhouse and River Pirate Oatmeal Stout.
“After the initial phase, we’ll launch our Briar & Bramble ESB, some seasonal offerings like Literally Can’t Even Spiced Belgian Strong, and some of our kettle sours, including Strawberry Field Trip and Guava Lamp,” Stewart said.
Strange Days Brewing (316 Oak. St.) celebrated its official grand opening in January. Then the brewery and taproom closed temporarily to secure final approvals. After a brief hiatus, Strange Days is once again open to the public. As of last weekend, the tap list included Sir Real IPA (8-percent ABV, 80 IBUs), Japanese Black IPA (6.6-percent ABV, 72 IBUs), Estranged Belgian-style Dark Ale with cherries (9.5-percent ABV, 32 IBUs), and Daydream Saison (7-percent ABV, 21 IBUs) brewed with honey, orange peel and peppercorn.
Boulevard Brewing’s !Vamos! Mexican-Style Lager, Tequila Barrel Lime Gose, and Grand Cru were released in Greater Kansas City on March 5. Grand Cru, available in 750 milliliter bottles and four-packs of 12-ounce bottles, is a blend produced from brewer-selected lots of Bourbon Barrel Quad and a double mashed imperial stout aged in freshly-emptied whiskey barrels.
Kansas City Bier Company released Pils, its newest year-round beer, on March 5 in six-packs of 12-ounce bottles and on draft. Its Pils, brewed with 100 percent imported German malt and hops, was the first-place winner in the Continental Pilsner Category in the 2015 Great International Beer, Cider, and Mead Competition.
“Pils has an assertive but delicate bitterness and a crisp, dry finish that can only be achieved with using all-imported ingredients,” Steve Holle, KC Bier founder and managing owner, said in a release. “Many domestic lagers call themselves a pilsner, but they forgot the hops. We didn’t.”
Martin City Brewing Company released its Hard Way IPA in 12-packs on March 5.
— Pete Dulin writes about food trends for Flatland and is the author of The KC Ale Trail. Follow @FlatlandKC and #TapList on Twitter for more food news and trends.