With the craft brew market booming on the demand side and getting crowded on the producer side, Torn Label Brewing Co. of Kansas City has hit on a good strategy: sell kegs to existing restaurants and bars rather than open another brewpub.
Not running a retail establishment has the advantage of allowing co-owners and brewers Rafi Chaudry and Travis Moore to focus on the beer itself. Their Crossroads district factory has the capacity to produce around 2,500 barrels of beer and room to add tanks that could triple that output. But they are starting out slow, hoping to sell about 1,200 barrels this year.
Long-range plans include canning beer for statewide distribution in Missouri in partnership with Major Brands.
A tasting room in the brewery is planned for later in the year, but the focus now is goosing demand by hosting tasting parties at pubs around town that have added Torn Label to their stable of draft beers. Recently the first such tasting on the Kansas side was held at Barley’s Brewhaus in Shawnee after launch parties on the Missouri side.
For now, Torn Label offers three year-round beers and four to five seasonal and limited quantity brews.
Strong sellers so far include House Brew, made using Sumatra coffee from nearby Thou Mayest Coffee Roasters, and Monk & Honey, a twist on a Belgian “single” brewed with local honey to add floral notes.
Fans of trendy chili beers will want to check out a Quajillo beer that is currently aging in Mexican tequila barrels. “The barrels got held up a long time, so we are excited about that one,” Moore says.