Brewery / Taproom
156 S. Greenwood, Wichita, KS
Central Stand Brewing is meticulously crafted. Developing their brewing skills for years as at home hobbyists, Andy and Ian used the support of the Wichita beer scene to gain confidence and start their own brewing company. With the addition of local brewer and partner Nathan earlier this year, the trio has been diligently preparing for their Grand Opening (This Friday, August 21st).
Please introduce yourselves and your roles at Central Standard Brewing:
Andy Boyd, co-founder and operations.
Ian Crane, co-founder and head of brewing operations.
Nathan Jackel, partner and head brewer.
With over 20 years of combined brewing experience, which came first... the friendship or the brewing?
Ian: Andy and I have been good friends since our senior year of High School. We started homebrewing together around 10 years ago. It all started with a homebrew kit we had both threw some cash down on. We had been exploring the world of craft beer and thought we'd try our hand at making our own, a Double IPA. The idea of spicing the beer with cardamom came up, so that's what we did. We ended up naming the beer "Floor Cleaner" due to it's over powering cardamom flavor/aroma and quickly learned a powerful lesson about the "less is more" philosophy. To this day we continue to practice constraint when it comes to spice additions in our beer.
After that first lackluster homebrewing experience, Andy and I continued to brew together on a regular basis, the beer began tasting a lot better and we started hosting parties to serve our beer at. Years of self education and well over a hundred brews later we started thinking seriously about turning the beer brewing into a business.
We met Nathan a couple years ago through the Wichita beer scene, he was brewing at RCBC and had a mutual passion for old world Belgian styles, and mixed fermentation brews, using wild yeast and bacteria—like brettanomyces and Lactobacillas… (The funky/sour stuff). Nathan joined the CSB team early 2015.
Nathan: I began brewing professionally at River City in 2012, where I was lucky enough to learn the commercial side of brewing under the awesome tutelage of Dan Norton. Through that opportunity I got to know many in the local beer and brewing community, including Ian & Andy. The more we talked and shared beer, the more it became clear that we're very much on the same wavelength. We all felt it made sense to team up, we're having a blast so far.
"It all started with a homebrew kit we had both threw some cash down on."
With so many breweries popping up how does Central Standard Brewery set itself apart?
Ian: CSB is dedicated to the craft and process of brewing quality beer, we believe this all starts by brewing with really good water. We like to brew beers that showcase expressive yeast characteristics. Many of our beers involve a blend of traditional brewer's yeast, wild yeast, and bacteria. By manipulating temperatures, contact time and environment we're finding ways to create really interesting yeast—producing flavors/aromas that you can't get with hops and spices alone.
Is Central Standard Brewing your first foray into entrepreneurialism?
Andy: It is. It's been a humbling experience, but very rewarding to see the taps flowing.
Ian: It is for me too. I'm learning something new constantly. My wife Sumer has been in the restaurant/bar business for over 15 years. Her experience involving all things bar and front of house management has been a huge asset for CSB. She's also been the vision behind the funky retro décor. Our wives have always been supportive of our brewery dreams.
Nathan: My first hobby-turned-business was aquariums, which I'm still actively involved in. Years of manipulating water chemistry really helped when I got bit by the brewing bug. I consider myself pretty lucky to be making a living from my two favorite hobbies.
What was the turning point from dream to reality? When did you realize this was possible and that it was time to get started?
Ian: Since the early days of our home-brewing the idea of the beer business has always been an evolving dream. We started taking our home-brewing pretty seriously 7 or 8 years ago. I set goals to brew the best beer possible and really understand each facet of the brewing process—with the idea of potentially starting a business one day. Andy would make labels for most of our brews and I'd drive around town and share bottles with business owners and friends; we'd bring bottles to a lot of social events that revolved around beer. We've been guerrilla marketing our beer for years, before our business plan was even put together.
Andy: I think the turning point was just an accumulation of positive response to what we were making from the Wichita beer community.
Ian: My wife and I taught English in Vietnam for a year and moved back in June of 2011. That's when we all started to focus on making this happen.
"We've been guerrilla marketing our beer for years before our business plan was even put together."
Every business runs into hiccups occasionally. Can you describe a few of the unexpected adventures up to this point?
Andy: Originally we had a much larger vision for CSB that we spent the better part of a year trying to put together, eventually it had to scrap due to funding gaps. Once we settled on our current location, we ran into a zoning snag. The brewery was met with some opposition from a few neighbors; but thanks to a huge show of support from the beer community, local businesses, family and friends, our plan was approved by the City Council. Our wives support of this dream has also been a huge part in getting us to where we are as well.
Ian: I believe the overwhelming support was what pushed the vote in our favor. It was an emotional experience for sure and a true "power of the people" moment. We had and continue to have a lot of amazing people that believe in us and Central Standard Brewing.
You've all worked hard on the brewing, the atmosphere, and the vision of Central Standard Brewing. Explain the importance of being so hands on in all aspects of CSB?
Ian: Hands on is paramount to what CSB represents. The very nature of the beer we're making involves many hours and extreme attention to detail throughout the entire brewing process, from brew-day to kegging and serving. We wanted to create an atmosphere that was open and inviting. An escape for people. It took a lot of vision and thought to create that environment.
Andy: We've tried our best to get it right out the gate. Being so heavily invested, we can't afford to not put our all into everything from the beer to the feel of the space.
Nathan: Brewing the best beer possible is obviously of the utmost importance, but along with great beer, we wanted a place that people really wanted to relax and spend some time. We'll continue to remain focused on making the entire experience better and better.
"Being so heavily invested, we can't afford not to put our all into everything from the beer to the feel of the space."
What makes Wichita the right home for Central Standard Brewing?
Andy: The Wichita beer scene is really exciting right now, with what seems like a new brewery opening or expanding every other month. It's been fun to be a part of that community and I think there's a lot of room for more growth.
Ian: We've received so much positive feedback from the community already. The fact that we're offering something a little different from what's available in the area is what makes Wichita the perfect spot.
What excites you about doing business and contributing to the Wichita community?
Andy: Making an impact in our community and doing something positive for Wichita has been one of the goals we set out with. We all grew up here and love the direction we see the community going. We've followed trends in breweries around the country and saw something that was missing here.
Nathan: Wichita has a few damn good breweries already kicking out great beer and a flourishing beer community, but compared to other cities our size, craft beer is just getting started here. We're thrilled to be adding to the scene and hopefully helping make Wichita even more of a craft beer destination.
Where do you see Central Standard Brewing in 5 years?
Ian: Brewing beer and expanding the size and number of fermentors so we can brew even more.
Andy: Right now our capacity is pretty limited in the space we have. We'd eventually like to expand into bottling our sour and wild beers. An off-site barrel conditioning and bottling plant could help achieve that goal, eventually getting our beers into liquor stores.
"We're thrilled to be adding to the scene and hopefully helping make Wichita even more of a craft beer destination."
To learn more about Central Standard Brewing visit their Grand Opening this Friday (August 21st at 5pm)