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SBC looks to grow beyond its roots in Queen City

Tap and tasting rooms in the works for Rogersville and Willard

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After more than a quarter century in existence, Springfield Brewing Co. is stretching its footprint outside the Queen City for the first time.

Along with its sister company, Ty Iechyd Da Distillery, SBC is planning a pair of tap and tasting rooms in Rogersville and Willard. Dubbed 125 Tap & Tasting Room, the Rogersville facility will be located at 1846 S. State Highway 125, near Pyramid Foods’ headquarters. The Rogersville venture is designed to appeal to residents of that city, Strafford and east Springfield, according to SBC officials.

SBC, founded in 1997 and located in downtown Springfield, announced the Rogersville tap and tasting room in June, a month after revealing a similar plan for a facility in Willard.

Both locations were part of a concerted effort to expand beyond Springfield city limits, said Brian Allen, director of brewery and distillery operations for SBC and Ty Iechyd Da. Internal conversations began around a year ago, he said.

“We were looking for opportunities,” Allen said, adding the search involved finding existing buildings that combined a good location and allowed for brewing and distilling options.

The company is leasing its Willard location for undisclosed terms from Ozark Greenways Inc. to occupy a 5,420-square-foot building the nonprofit owns next to the Frisco Highline Trail. SBC beers will be on tap at the facility, as will spirits from Ty Iechyd Da, pronounced “Tea-Yah-Key-Da.”

While no food currently is expected to be prepared on-site, customers will be welcome to bring in outside fare. Allen said occasional options from food trucks also might be included in the plans.

“It just sort of crystallized for us at the time that this would be a good opportunity for us to do some things on the beer side that we’re not necessarily able to do downtown. The building was a good space for that,” he said of the Willard venture. “The location right on the trail would make a good destination spot or public venue for people to have a slightly different experience than they have downtown.”

Officials declined to disclose estimated project costs for the Willard and Rogersville ventures. The Rogersville facility, which will fill space formerly occupied by the shuttered Bub’s Distillery, is expected to open in the fall, pending completion of renovations and permit approvals, Allen said.

“Ideally, we’ll be open in maybe late spring of next year for Willard,” he added.

Building use
Brewery staff will utilize a portion of the Willard building to produce yet-to-be-determined beers that use different yeasts and bacteria to generate varied flavors from current SBC brews, Allen said. At its downtown restaurant, SBC has four year-round beers, a seasonal brew and a rotating roster of what Allen referred to as small-batch offerings, with four to six typically offered every year.

“We’ll be using those techniques to create some new and different flavors for us that we didn’t want to do down (in Springfield) and run the risk of cross-contaminating everything that we have here,” he said, noting the space also will be utilized to expand its hard cider offerings. The company currently produces Farmstand Hard Cider, according to its website.

Additionally, the building’s size will accommodate product storage, Allen said.

“That production space in Willard is large enough that I think we’ll be able to use it as a spirit barrel warehouse as well,” he said, noting the seating configuration is still under consideration but should have capacity between 50 and 100 people, when incorporating outdoors space.

In Rogersville, 125 Tap & Tasting Room plans to have a selection of SBC’s craft beers on tap, as well as Ty Iechyd Da small-batch spirits, such as bourbon, gin, rum and vodka. The location also aims to serve woodfired pizza, Allen said.

“Most menu items at this point are going to be coming out of that pizza oven, so maybe there will be some breadsticks or pinwheels or things like that,” he said. “We’re not putting a kitchen in.”

SBC officials are hopeful the new facilities will provide a boost to beer and spirits production, although Allen said no estimates are being made at this time.

The 80-employee SBC produced 2,500 barrels of beer in 2022, up 14% from 2021, which placed the company second on Springfield Business Journal’s list of the area’s largest breweries. Mother’s Brewing Co. topped the list with 8,039 barrels produced.

Its beer distribution footprint covers much of southern Missouri, as well as a few counties in central Missouri, Allen said. The brews are sold in restaurants as well as with retailers such as Hy-Vee, Schnucks and Walmart.

Allen said SBC intends to maintain the footprint that Bub’s Distillery used, with separate areas for distilling spirits and a tasting room. The company is leasing the 4,000-square-foot space for undisclosed terms with CCW Properties LLC.

“We’ll be using that distillery space certainly to do some pilot stuff,” he said. “If we integrate new ingredients, new supplies, we’ll try it out there to see how it will affect flavor changes before we adapt it to our main plant down here. It will also give us the opportunity to try and be more creative and whimsical with some of the small-batch stuff that may not necessarily work well as a distribution model.”

The Rogersville building is enclosed without windows, an element Allen said SBC intends to change.

“We definitely want to open up the building and get some natural light in there,” he said. “The property does have this big yard that we’re hoping to utilize as well to allow people to sit outside, get a pie or have a cocktail.”

A new purpose
Ozark Greenways Executive Director Mary Kromrey said the nonprofit’s Willard building, which it has owned for nearly three decades, had been leased for the past several years by the city to store its maintenance equipment. However, Greg Williams, the city’s director of economic development, was contacted last year by SBC as it was looking for available buildings. Williams, in turn, mentioned to Ozark Greenways the idea of the building benefiting another business, Kromrey said.

“At the end of the day, we don’t want an empty building. We have long desired to see that trailhead become more than just a place for storage,” she said, adding Ozark Greenways didn’t have any specific business in mind to eventually occupy the space. “It’s such a sweet spot. It’s there close to existing businesses alongside the trail.

“But craft breweries, southwest Missouri has really responded well to that, whether you’re thinking Tie & Timber [Beer Co.] or 4 by 4 [Brewing Co.]. If this building is going to be empty, do we have an opportunity to think about something that could serve a larger group of people rather than just storage?”

Kromrey said the pieces started coming together, and the city opted earlier this year to not renew its lease, making the building available.

“Our region is stronger when all of the entities that form our region are stronger,” she said. “We were tickled to see this come into place.”

While SBC announced expansion plans in two communities in as many months, Allen said it’s not necessarily the start of a community growth trend outside Springfield.

“We want to focus on these two and make sure we’re paying attention to all the details, and that service and standards are where we want them to be,” he said.

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