The one thing that has become clear to me as I have gone down this journey toward finding a location for Augustino Brewing is how truly amazing and supportive Wichita is of their craft beer. It doesn’t mean that our market isn’t starting to become more competitive in terms of craft brewing, but we are bringing in new people every day to exploring and drinking new and interesting and creative concoctions.
Our team was blessed this past weekend to have many of you visit us at reverie coffee roasters for our Founders Party. If you missed the party really missed out as it was a fantastic time for everyone there. We had nine beers on tap, including many of the beers that will likely appear on our core flight of beers.
The beers that we are quite confident will be on our flight year round include our Imperial coffee Stout, which clocks in at 10.5% ABV and has a deep richness of flavor that both Stout fans and coffee fans can appreciate. It has always been in the back of my mind, and I was pleased to have some of our guests bring this to my attention, that are Imperial Coffee Stout was in some ways like the Yeti beers. For those of you who don’t know, Yeti is a fabulous Imperial Stout by Great Divide Brewing Company. So, having our beer compared fared favorably next to theirs is a real honor for us. Moreover, we do intend to have seasonal takeoffs on this core base beer in order to fully explore the complexity and flavor profiles possible with this beer. Watch for more as we get open and roll forward as I am fully confident that Cold Case Imperial Coffee Stout will stand tall next to any other stout made in the area.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, we had Trim Blonde Summer Afternoon Delight. This is intended to be a gateway beer and those who were lucky to have some of it Saturday night enjoyed it as well. One of our strategies and our brewing is to not sacrifice flavor complexity even on our lightest beers, so we like to leave a little bit more residual sugars and utilize more flavorful and aromatic hops on beers like this one. Not everybody want to start every day like I do, so this along with many other midrange beers that we will have on tap will help us meet every pallet under the sun.
I was also really pleased to see how many of our guests made use of the coffee bar that we had opened during the party. I’ve always said from the start that the coffee world and the beer world are colliding and that many of the same people who are big on craft beer are also big on craft coffee. That seemed to vet itself out on Saturday night quite nicely. Additionally, as anticipated, we not only attracted the craft beer fans and Founders, but also their friends who normally would not go to a craft brewery because they don’t drink or drink very little. In fact, we have Founders who don’t even drink beer because they love the concept and the fact that we’re trying to create something that they can enjoy with their drinking friends. Expanding the community for craft beverages was one of the passions I have brought into this project and so it has been very moving to me to see that this is beginning to pan out.
So, where are we now in terms of opening? Well, after going back and forth on a couple of locations, we missed out on one location I really liked, but are hoping to have a lease agreement in hand on the other location in the coming days. In addition, there is another potentially exciting project/location we are discussing a little further north, but directly in the growth pattern of the northwest Wichita area. I’m concerned the cost will be out of our budget, but our ownership team has known the people behind this deal for a number of years and so we’ll see if that option comes onto the table. Our search has been particularly challenging because we’ve held firm to our set of parameters for a location:
- The location needs to have 4000-5000 SF.
- The location needs to have at least 70 parking spots easily accessible to our customers.
- The location needs to have the ability to add a drive-thru or drive up for in-car quick service for pickup orders and drinks/growlers.
- The location needs to be inexpensive enough to be able to afford it even in an increasingly competitive brewing and restaurant marketplace.
- The location needs to meet the demographics favorable to craft beer (so, middle class with solid disposable income, for example)
- The location needs to easily accessible from a high traffic intersection.
Believe it or not, there are very few options that fit this profile on the northwest side of Wichita (and, yes, we are sticking with NW Wichita for our first location), which makes the search for the home for our craft brewery and coffeehouse frustrating and slow. There are MANY locations that meet some of the criteria, but nearly none that meet all of them. We believe we owe it to our friends, investors and future customers to do the necessary due diligence to find the best possible location, without sacrificing the above principles. By holding to our guns and getting a great location for our craft brewery, you’ll benefit and have a new location to enjoy some of your local craft beer. We know our fans won’t always come to our brewery, but we’re happy when they do and will always strive to provide and Awesome experience unique and unparalleled in the Wichita area. It’s a tall order for sure, but I’ve never been as confident in our ability to deliver on this promise as I am today as I look at the team we are assembling and the fans we already have before we’ve even signed a lease agreement on a location.
Cheers to great Wichita Craft Beers!