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Archive for Thursday, April 5, 2007

Another Free State on tap

Brewery considers expansion, likely into K.C. area

April 5, 2007

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Steve Bradt, brewmaster for Free State Brewing Co., organizes empty kegs in an elevated storage area. A bill approved by the Kansas Legislature and awaiting Gov. Kathleen Sebelius' signature would allow microbreweries to have more than one location in the state. That's good news for the brewery, at 636 Mass. in downtown Lawrence, which is weighing plans to expand, likely into the Kansas City area.

Steve Bradt, brewmaster for Free State Brewing Co., organizes empty kegs in an elevated storage area. A bill approved by the Kansas Legislature and awaiting Gov. Kathleen Sebelius' signature would allow microbreweries to have more than one location in the state. That's good news for the brewery, at 636 Mass. in downtown Lawrence, which is weighing plans to expand, likely into the Kansas City area.

Free State Brewing Co. is looking to expand.

The brewpub - the first legal brewery in Kansas since Prohibition - aims to be the state's first microbrewery with multiple locations, now that the Kansas Legislature this week approved a change in alcohol laws that would make such an expansion a possibility.

Now all the bill needs is Gov. Kathleen Sebelius' signature and Chuck Magerl can go shopping for a new location, likely in the Kansas City area.

"It's early in the development stage of some scenarios," said Magerl, the brewery's proprietor and largest shareholder. "We're working on expansion and the opportunity to provide more good beer for more good people in Kansas."

Free State opened in February 1989, after Magerl helped convince legislators to permit such an operation for commercial sales. He assembled a team of investors - now about 24 strong - and leased and renovated a former trolley depot at 636 Mass.

After a 1996 expansion that enclosed an outdoor beer garden, Free State now seats up to 190 people for meals and beverages.

The brewery has 106 employees and each year produces about 2,500 barrels of beer, including such signature brews as Wheat State Golden, John Brown Ale and Oatmeal Stout.

Free State now is one of 16 microbreweries in Kansas.

"This is to make the law amenable to growing the economy," said state Rep. Ann Mah, whose legislation addressing farm wineries was amended to include the microbrewery provision.

Local brewery eying K.C. expansion

So, you say you can't get enough Ad Astra Ale? Relief could be on the way and out of town. Enlarge video

Comments

Keith 7 years, 8 months ago

If they put a Free State Brewery on the Missouri side, won't they have to change the name to Slave State Brewery?

oldgoof 7 years, 8 months ago

Guess he wants to export smoking in restaurants to a new location.

trvlronda 7 years, 8 months ago

NNNNOOOOOOOO!!!! We will loose what is special about Lawrence. It's crazy that we can be mistaken for Johnson County West. I make it a point to shop locally, and IF Free State expands.......minus one customer plus whoever else I can reach. What will be left that is uniquely Lawrence? We are already moving our football games. It breaks my heart that everyday more and more decisions are being made based on the amount of money to be made verses what is good for the identity of this community. Look to the east and you will see where we are headed. Good Luck.

don_burgess 7 years, 8 months ago

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fabian_zimbabwe 7 years, 8 months ago

YYYEEESSS!!! It's called free enterprise, and as a KU alum who wishes he could get to Lawrence most every day of the week, at least now I have an opportunity to "taste the Lawrence experience" a bit more often. Naturally, every future trip I make back to Lawrence will continue to include a stop at the original location as well. I see no problem with this.

kj 7 years, 8 months ago

I wish they would open a second location in Lawrence that would be a bit easier to get to. Whenever we have family or friends come to town we try to go to Free State. We have a couple of people in our family who can not walk very far. So sometimes downtown is not an option.

shirinisb 7 years, 8 months ago

Chuck hasn't lost money in a long time.

Free State is a wonderful, responsible business. As far as the smoking ban goes I would have to say that KCMO will probably follow the rest of the country's lead in banning indoor smoking eventually, so that shouldn't be an issue.

Although I severely disgagree with Chuck's views on the smoking ban I have to honor him for being such a responsible local business owner, and I think that Kansas City would definately benefit from an awesome brewhaus.

Thats_messed_up 7 years, 8 months ago

AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG!!!!!!!!!!!!!Lawrence will be doomed if Free State Brewery opens another brewery!!!!!!!!!!

idiots.

freestatehawk 7 years, 8 months ago

If coke is responsible for the service one gets at FSB, it should be mandatory for all restaurant workers. Most restaurants could learn a thing or two from Free State staff.

Emily Hadley 7 years, 8 months ago

Productivity in KC on Mondays will be doomed, not Lawrence!

And I agree, the staff busts a** like nobody's business. I swear I've never had a cold french fry or an empty glass in all my years of Free State dining. KC will be lucky if this works out, but like Starbucks, no matter how many there ever are, there's only one original location.

Ken Miller 7 years, 8 months ago

I had my birthday dinner at Free State this past Tuesday. The food was great, the service was even better, and the C3 beer I had was outstanding.

I hope Free State locates in several KC communities - hell, while they are at it, put one in Topeka, too!

deec 7 years, 8 months ago

the legends or lenexa will be the choice

SoundMind 7 years, 8 months ago

"Downtown Missouri....a winner especially if the right deal with the property owner."

He couldn't call it "Free State" anymore, if so.

kj 7 years, 8 months ago

We had carry out from Free State yesterday, had my left overs today. I wish other restaurants in Lawrence would follow Free State's example in Quality and Service. Great Food, Great Wait Staff. I always recommend them when we have customers coming in from out of town.

wombat4269 7 years, 8 months ago

I have no idea what challenges FSB faces, nor an awareness of their growth plans. I do know they provide the best, most satisfying dining I've ever experienced.

SoundMind 7 years, 8 months ago

What do you mean "you people?" I'm not a Missourian.

He could call it something like "Not a Free State Brewery." And have like a "Raider's Red Ale." that would be cool.

local_support 7 years, 8 months ago

I love FSB. It's the place I take all of my out of town friends. If Chuck wants to expand then I say more power to him. As long as the quality of the beer and the food doesn't suffer (and I know it won't) then go ahead and add one in KC. At least a lot of those folks will finally find out what they've been missing.

fascinating_person 7 years, 8 months ago

I like the atmosphere at Free State, but I'm shocked that everyone who's posted has so much to say about the food. I've never eaten anything spectacular there. It's usually mediocre food, and only occasionally good food. Most people I've talked to agree.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 8 months ago

There is never unanimous agreement on the qualitly of food at any restaurant-- opinions almost always vary widely. No accounting for taste, as they say.

I eat at Free State fairly often, and while I would say it's certainly not gourment dining, it's consistently good, and they do make a concerted effort to buy fresh and local for their ingredients.

Service is usually pretty good, although when they get really busy, the confusion and congestion can make that difficult.

The beer is consistently very good, too, and while at $3 a glass you shouldn't go there looking for a cheap drunk, that price is lower than most microbreweries.

I predict the new one will be in Johnson County somewhere.

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