After a successful summer launch party netted nearly $5,000 for charity, the former Army officer behind the Service Brewing Co. has two more big events on his calendar.
First, the grand opening of the Savannah, Georgia-based brewery for tasting and tours, set for Sept. 13. Then, a development that's better news for Kevin Ryan's many far-flung investors, battle buddies and well-wishers who aren't exactly within walking distance:
The cans are coming.
Ground Pounder Pale Ale and Compass Rose IPA will be available without a tap for the first time in October, said Ryan, a 1996 U.S. Military Academy graduate who left service as a captain and has two former soldiers on his payroll — brewmaster and fellow West Point alum Dale Sartin, and former helicopter pilot and assistant brewer Jeff Hyatt.
That means not only a bigger footprint locally, where plans call for expansion into grocery and convenience stores, but also the chance to ship his product in more manageable packaging, Ryan said.
"One of our investors is the president of a West Point Society out in California. He was trying to get beer for the Army-Stanford tailgate," he said. "It's not cost-effective at all to put a single 5-gallon keg on a truck and drive it cross-country to California. I'm sure there's people who'd be willing to pay that price, but not many."
The local American Legion post that hosted the brewery's July 24 coming-out party was filled to capacity in a half hour, Ryan said. About 650 people cycled through the 300-person facility, with proceeds going to Georgia-based charities. Ryan said he expected to sell 40 barrels in the first month; he doubled his estimate.
A dollar from every souvenir glass sold at the Sept. 13 event will go to Healing 4 Heroes, a group that trains dogs from animal shelters to serve soldiers dealing with post-traumatic stress or other issues.
The 28,000-square-foot brewery will host tours Thursdays through Sundays; more details are available at www.servicebrewing.com. ■