A year after the last craft brewery in Springfield opened its doors, two business partners are preparing to serve suds by the end of the summer on the far south side.
Banter Brewing Co. LLC co-owners Brian Harbison and Jon Weddle are targeting a mid-August start for their brewery at 330 W. Plainview Road, in the Plainview Corners shopping center, about a mile south of the James River Freeway interchange.
The friends and first-time business owners are taking on much of the infill work for the 1,400-square-foot space that last housed a Subway restaurant over five years ago, Weddle said.
“We’re really bootstrapping it so we’re not taking on a bunch of debt to do this. This is really a personal investment of not only our time but sweat equity,” Weddle said, declining to disclose startup costs. “Brian has built all of our tables and is building our bar top. We were in here painting the ceiling, painting the walls. We’re doing as much of the work ourselves as we can.”
Banter Brewing Co.’s start will mark the 11th brewery to open within city limits, following the June 2020 launch of Prehistoric Brewing Co. LLC at 1816 S. Glenstone Ave.
While Harbison said he’s home-brewed beer since around 2005, neither owner has professional brewery experience. Both declined to disclose where they currently work, although Harbison said he’s an architect. According to Weddle’s LinkedIn profile, he is a managing director at Monett-based financial software firm Jack Henry & Associates Inc.
Harbison said eight taps are planned at opening, with four core beers – honey wheat, pale ale with sweet orange peel, a rye India pale ale and a hazy IPA. He said all beers will be brewed in-house, probably two to three times a week. He estimated 120 barrels will be produced annually to start, adding the brewery isn’t planning retail or wholesale distribution at this time.
“We’re not going to be the biggest brewery. We’re starting small by design,” Weddle said. “Before we even think about distribution, we have to get more established and really have those core beers that we’d want to distribute.”
The 40-seat brewery, which has no outdoor seating, will allow outside food and be kid- and dog-friendly.
An expanded version of this article will appear in Springfield Business Journal’s June 28 print edition.
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