Carrie Rengers

Hank Is Wiser Brewery averts ‘major catastrophe’ following electrical issue

Hank Sanford is not only wiser but thankful, too, that his family’s Hank Is Wiser Brewery in Cheney is all right following what could have been a major fire.
Hank Sanford is not only wiser but thankful, too, that his family’s Hank Is Wiser Brewery in Cheney is all right following what could have been a major fire. File photo

The combination kitchen and brewery at the Hank Is Wiser Brewery in Cheney is so small that food and beer can’t both be made at the same time.

Last week, that was a good thing.

The business, which Hank and Jane Sanford and their 34-year-old son, Steve, own, is open only on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

On Aug. 17, a Monday, Steve Sanford was at the 117-year-old building at 213 N. Main when an electric company was working on some nearby poles, something shorted out.

“It hit our building with a big jolt of electricity, and it set a gas line on fire,” Hank Sanford says. “We actually had a broken gas line in the place shoot out flames.”

Steve Sanford, who doesn’t usually brew on Mondays, went to check on what he heard and found a 3-foot flame that he was able to extinguish, his father says.

“They are calling him the fireman now,” Sanford says. “They’re kidding him a lot.”

He says if his son hadn’t been at the business, “We’d have had a major catastrophe. … It was just lucky he was out there brewing that morning.”

The decade-old business may need a bigger brewing system, Sanford says.

“We’re having trouble keeping up,” he says.

Still, Sanford says he isn’t sure whether he and his family will make the commitment.

“It’d be a big step for us.”

Reach Carrie Rengers at 316-268-6340 or crengers@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @CarrieRengers.

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