For Crosstown Brewing Co. co-founders Clark Ortkiese and Will Goodwin, the next three weeks will include a flurry of activity leading up to the grand opening of their new craft brewery and taproom on February 16.
The pair have been hard at work for the past several years planning, designing and building on a parcel of land adjacent to the west of the Crosstown Concourse mixed-use redevelopment.
“Most breweries start out relatively small,” said Ortkiese. “We asked everyone we knew who had ever owned a brewery about what they would do differently if they could do it over again, and they said they would start bigger.”
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Lifelong friends Ortkiese and Goodwin began as home brewers about seven years ago. At that time, they were both at spots in their careers – Ortkiese in the steel industry and Goodwin in the stone industry – where they wanted to do something on their own.
“If we hadn’t started a brewery, we would’ve started some other business,” said Ortkiese. “We’re both entrepreneurial in spirit, and beer just happened to be something that we were totally passionate about.”
Hunter Fleming, principal architect with Facture Design LLC, created the floor plans for the 10,300-square-foot brewery, which was built from the ground up. Designs for the taproom were expanded from the initial idea of 1,800 square feet to nearly 2,800 square feet, including the addition of a giant cathedral-style glass wall behind the bar looking into the production area.
Ybos & Sons is the project’s general contractor, and Hope Martin is the interior designer putting together the industrial modern aesthetic.
The production side of the building features plenty of room for future growth.
“We’re sized for expansion and built for expansion,” said Ortkiese.
Crosstown will begin canning operations in late February or early March. For distribution, which will include to local restaurants and bars at first, the brewery will produce its Traffic IPA and Siren Blonde Ale.
“For taproom sales, we’ll always try to have five to 10 beers available, while out in the market you’ll probably always see two with maybe some seasonals working their way in from time to time,” said Ortkiese, who is a certified cicerone.
The taproom will accommodate 150 to 200 guests, with roll-up garage doors that open up to a patio space. Eventually, there will be a large green space extending out from the patio where patrons can hang out and enjoy yard games like cornhole.
Crosstown Brewing will be open Wednesday through Friday from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 10 p.m.
“Being a part of Crosstown is fantastic,” said Ortkiese. “The focus on the arts and education make it a cool and worthy place to hang out. There’s a sense of purpose here that we really appreciate.”