By Kevin Collison
Border Brewing has opened its new, much larger quarters in the East Crossroads and in a nod to continuity, owner Eric Martens mounted the old bar top from his original place on the wall.
After all, Border pioneered the Neigh-Brew-Hood when it first opened at 406 E. 18th St. in February 2015. The area east of Grand now counts seven breweries within a couple blocks as well as a couple distilleries and a winery.
The new Border Brewing that opened in mid-November a block away at 512 E. 18th has doubled the size of the original and added opportunities for Martens to expand his label and audience.
“It’s been awesome to have everybody back,” Martens said.
“People have been patient, we were down seven months, and I’ve gotten good feedback. We still have the same atmosphere, cozy and inviting.”
In addition to the old bar top on the wall, the furnishings at the new place are fashioned from wood supplied by the Urban Lumber Co.
The new 42-foot long bar top is made from white oak harvested during a project at Swope Park and red oak from the former Meadowbrook Golf Club in Prairie Village, now a county park and residential development.
The bar also features wireless charging stations.
The expanded Border Brewing now is making its beers with a seven-barrel system, more than double its previous capacity, allowing its beer to be distributed more widely to other bars and also supply a new canning line scheduled to be installed soon.
Martens also obtained a full liquor license for the new space which will allow him to serve cocktails and drinks as well as beers from other makers. The capacity of the 3,200 square-foot place is now 72, also double the former location.
Looking forward to warmer days, the building features a large outdoor space behind it, which will allow Border to open a beer garden accommodating up to 60 people.
Like other East Crossroads breweries that have expanded from the initial operation–Casual Animal and Torn Label–Martens wanted to take advantage of the growing reputation of the area Neigh-Brew-Hood.
“We had been looking for awhile,” he said.
“The old place was good to start, but we outgrew it. I’d been keeping an eye out for new spaced, and this building came up for sale and we bought it.”
Now, the former Border Brewing is home to another microbrewery startup, Red Sash.
And depending on how the Royals interest in a downtown ballpark turns out, the area is poised to take advantage, being only a 15 minute walk from what’s considered to be the primary location under consideration, the East Village area.
In the half-year interim between closing and opening, Martens again enjoyed the camaraderie that makes the area a chill, fun place to be.
“The other brewers were supportive and were bringing us beers,” he said. “It’s an amazing environment to be in business. People were so supportive.”
Border Brewing hours are Tuesdays through Thursdays, 4-9 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays, noon to 11 p.m., and Sundays, noon to 8 p.m.
Don’t miss any downtown news, sign up for our weekly CityScene KC email review here.