By Kevin Collison
Border Brewing, the pioneering brewer that launched the East Crossroads craft beer scene in 2015, is relocating to a new space this spring more than double the size of its current digs at 406 E. 18th St.
Proprietor Eric Martens said his decision to lease a 3,200 square-foot building a block away at 512 E. 18th is a vote of confidence that peoples’ thirst for good craft beer will continue once the pandemic is behind us.
“We’ve been in the neighborhood for awhile and until Covid hit, everybody was growing,” he said.
“I think we’ll recover from this. What’s going on here has a natural momentum.”
When Martens opened Border Brewing five years ago, the only other downtown brewer was Boulevard, the founding father of Kansas City’s craft beer revival.
Cinder Block and Big Rip were operating across the river in North Kansas City, and while nearby Torn Label also opened in the East Crossroads around then, it didn’t yet have a tap room.
Since then, Border Brewing has been joined by another half-dozen microbreweries, most within short walking distance of one another, that has become downtown’s ‘neigh-brew-hood.’
“It’s a fun atmosphere to be in and a good group of people,” Martens said. “All of us brewers help each other out.”
The new space, which Border expects to occupy by late spring, will allow the brewery to quadruple its production from 200- to 250 barrels annually to more than 1,000.
The building is not only much more spacious inside, it also has a green space behind it that will become a beer garden. It will continue to be beer only, no food, but Martens said anyone can bring their meal inside with them.
Like all of his fellow brewers, Martens has had to improvise to make it through the pandemic. He’s stepped up his canning operation and sold more beer to-go.
He also participates in a delivery service to nearby apartment buildings along with Casual Animal, Double Shift and KC Wine Works.
“Covid has been tough on everybody, but I think everybody is doing the right things–socially distancing, masks, take-out–it’s not ideal, but a way to keep going,” Martens said.
Don’t miss any downtown news, sign up for our weekly CityScene KC email review here.