It only took a few minutes for hundreds of people to fill the tasting room at Kansas City Bier Co. after it officially opened to the public on Tuesday afternoon. Based in Kansas City’s Waldo neighborhood, Kansas City Bier Co. LLC is a microbrewer that focuses on producing German-style beers. Its tasting room is now open Tuesday through Friday from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 7 p.m.
Standing near the entrance in the tasting room wearing lederhosen and clutching a fresh beer as he welcomed guests, founder Steve Holle appeared both excited and relieved.
“This was a longtime dream,” Holle said. “A lot of planning and effort went into this. As with any complicated project, there are times you’re not sure it’s all going to come together, but it’s really satisfying to see this right now.”
The brewery is in a 10,000-square-foot building at 310 W. 79th St. The tasting room occupies about a quarter of the building and will hold 71 people. Holle has plans to add a beer garden that will wrap around the exterior of the building, creating room for another 100 guests.
The brewhouse occupies the rest of the building and has plenty of space for the business to grow. It currently has capacity to produce about 4,000 to 5,000 barrels a year, but there is room to add about ten more fermentation tanks and triple its production, while still saving space for a bottling line in the future.
“Our ultimate goal is not for just the tasting room to take off, but to become a wholesaler for local bars and restaurants and have our customers enjoy our beers at those establishments,” Holle said. “We eventually plan to bottle our beer once enough consumers recognize our brand. We want to create fresh, unique tasting German-style craft beers. Craft beer wholesalers typically don’t focus on German-style beers, so we want to fill that void.”
KC Bier signed a wholesale distribution agreement with United Beverage Co., so the beer will be distributed from the Missouri River south to 85th Street, and from the state line east to Interstate 435. The company expects to start distribution of beer to local bars and restaurants next month.
“I wanted to brew all of our main beers once just to make sure everything was OK,” Holle said. “So right now we have two of our beers getting ready for off-premise distribution in mid-March. We’ll brew another beer in two days and we’ll spend the next few weeks basically getting ready to have a volume of beer going off premise.”