As Aero Plains Brewing gears up to open in Delano later this year, at least a couple more breweries are also working to join the growing number of craft beer establishments popping up in the area.
Augustine Iacopelli’s Augustino Brewing is one of them.
The director of Wichita State University’s west-side campus has been a well-known, longtime brewer, but he says there’s been a benefit to sitting back and watching others open breweries first.
“Fortunately I have seen everybody else,” he says.
One of the most important things he’s learned, Iacopelli says, is to open in his own backyard.
“You should probably aim to live close to where you’re opening,” he says people have told him.
That’s why the west-sider is looking at west Wichita, Maize and Valley Center.
“It is an under-tapped market,” he says of that general area.
Iacopelli and his wife, Bianca, hope to offer a twist on a traditional brewery. Augustino will be a coffeehouse, too.
“We always kind of had a love for both of those areas,” he says.
“As it turns out, a lot of people who are into craft beer are really into high-end coffee,” Iacopelli says. “What you’re not seeing is a total blend of both of those worlds into one.”
With that blending, the Iacopellis hope to have a bigger market.
A lot of local breweries are open only a few days a week. The Iacopellis plan to open seven days a week, including early in the morning for beer-inspired coffee creations.
“At 8 o’clock in the morning, there aren’t a lot of people thinking about drinking beer,” Iacopelli says. He says he wants to offer a coffee product that someone can drink “and feel no guilt about going to the office with.”
The Iacopellis have some of their financing together but still have more to go, and how much they raise will dictate the size of their business. Iacopelli says he and his wife hope to have everything together to open by next year.
He says that’s another lesson he’s learned from other brewers, which “is that things take longer than you expect.”
The Iacopellis plan to have a simple menu of sandwiches and paninis, perhaps with an Italian twist.
The main focus, though, in addition to coffee, is what Iacopelli calls “darker, full-bodied but still quaffable ales.”
Look for more information as the Iacopellis get closer with the concept.