Shifts Smaller Facilities like Border Does to ​Stay Afloat & Plan Future Growth

Considered a Kansas City mainstay, Border Brewing Company was the first brewery taproom to open in the Crossroads in the local trade area now known as Brewer’s Alley.

Despite current market conditions due to COVID-19, Border Brewing continues to reach capacity and needs additional space to accommodate the demand.​ So the brewery is relocating to a 6,483-square-foot inline retail site from its original location one block east. In addition to expanding ​the taproom, production, and canning operation, ​Border is looking forward to tackling several new projects ​in 2021 that were previously shelved due to space limitations.​

​Border made​ pivots in ​its business plan ​to change quickly ​to help​ offset any​ stagnation ​or ​potential dips​.​ But co-owner and brewer Eric Martens said that the brewery — which will probably finish 2020 at around 150 barrels this year — about a 30% drop in production from 2019’s output of 210 barrels — has been looking for a larger space for about three years now. The extra room will help the brewery quadruple production capacity to 1,000 barrels for 2021.

“The property we’ve found was a great opportunity that was too good to pass up. We’ll be moving from a 1,275-square-foot facility to a 3,200-square-foot facility, and the additional room is something we have desperately needed for years now,” Martens said. “Whether or not the outbreak continues into spring of 2021 is yet to be determined, but the additional space and brewing capacity gives us flexibility for any scenario moving forward.”

Border depends almost 100% on its on-premise, by-the-glass sales, but Martens said they are looking to diversify by adding the capability to distribute and increase to-go sales out of the taproom.

When Kansas City ordered a shutdown in March and the taproom had to be closed, Border dedicated its resources to packaging and to-go sales only. This meant putting all of its 3-barrel batches through a two-head, table-top can filler by hand, which meant about a 12-hour day to package on batch

“While this work was labor-intensive, selling six-packs to go helped us to stay operational during the shutdown,” Martens said.

Going through that has certainly caused Border to shift focus this year to some different things, especially on the to-go sales front.

“Part of what we’re all excited about with this move is that we will be able to produce more packed beer, especially in cans, which will give our customers another option if they prefer to take beer home,” Martens said.

This year has also opened the door to the opportunity of home delivery of beer, which is something Martens said they plan on exploring more in 2021.

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