Roll out the barrels. Kansas City Bier Company (310 W 79th Street) is about to get a whole lot bigger. The 18-month old brewery in Waldo is expanding its production operation to an adjacent building and has plans to begin selling bottled beer in 2016.
“We’re selling all the beer we can make,” Steve Holle, the founder of KC Bier Co., says. “We’re expanding to meet wholesale demand in bars and restaurants in the Kansas City area.”
This expansion will initially be focused on helping KC Bier Co. create more of its three year-round brews: Helles (Golden Munich lager), and Dunkel (Brown Munich lager) are currently distributed in the Kansas City area and Lawrence.
“There are two wide extremes in the marketplace. There are national, golden lagers and high alcohol, very hoppy beers,” Holle says. “I think there’s a middle ground there to make a full bodied beer with a lot of flavor and character that’s still five percent alcohol and is easy to have more than just one glass.”
Kansas City has agreed with Holle. Kansas City Bier Co. started with a single distributor in the spring of 2014 and added two more that fall. The initial 480-barrel cellar has grown to 600 barrels in the beginning of 2015. Another four tanks just arrived at the brewery, which Holle expects to increase capacity to 1,320 barrels by 2016.
“I’d like to see us grow in the Kansas City market and keep our distribution footprint fairly small,” Holle says. “I think we still have the capacity to grow regionally and locally.”
As part of the expansion plan, the brewery will take over an adjoining building to add another 6,500 square feet of space. Their current operation is 10,000 square feet with 2,500 of that dedicated to a taproom. The taproom will remain the same, as will the Biergarten, a place for celebrations like Oktoberfest, slated for September 18-19. A Festbier (Vienna-style lager), is currently lagering in the tanks for the annual German celebration.
“Our growth has been faster than we anticipated,” Holle says. “I think we’ve been really well received because there are not that many craft breweries that make German-style beers.”
Holle hopes to complete the build out of the new production space this fall. The adjacent space will hold a bottling line and new keg line. Holle is looking to have KC Bier Co. brews in bottles by April 2016.
The additional tank space could also allow KC Bier Co. to increase its year-round offerings. Holle is considering adding Weizenbock (strong pale Bavarian-style wheat bock at 7.5% ABV) and restoring Pilsner as a year-round brew.
Feast Magazine is hosting a Feast 50 Event Series at KC Bier Company this Saturday, August 29, at 1 p.m. A $35 ticket gets you two beers, one food item from the Pie Hole food truck and ice cream from Glace Artisan Ice Cream.
[Tap handle image via Facebook: KC Bier Co]