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Local Brewery Scene: We Get By With a Little Help From Our Friends

Written by Stacy Ward Lattin, Co-Owner of Hopping Gnome Brewing

August 4, 2021

Over the past decade, Wichita’s craft beer scene has grown from one brewery to nine within a 30-minute drive of downtown. While friendly competition is common among small business owners, Wichita’s breweries take it to the next level.

The incredible Hopping Gnome team

Us brewers help each other with ingredients, brewing tips, best business practices and we honestly just like hanging out – we do make beer, after all. We even brew “collaboration beers” together, which locals love.

When my husband and I started our business plan for Hopping Gnome Brewing over six years ago, we looked to other breweries for guidance. Jeremy Horn of Wichita Brewing Company reviewed our business plan, while BJ Hunt and Rick Goehring of Walnut River Brewing walked us through equipment questions and the licensing process in Kansas. People are usually surprised by this level of competitor support, but we know that we all do better together. Check out each of our region's breweries:

Us local brewery owners chillin' on the hill at Nortons Brewing Co

Small business camaraderie became even more important during the pandemic. During the shutdown, breweries were able to continue to-go sales. The extra canning led to a national can shortage. As we were running low, our friends down the street at Central Standard Brewing helped us out with the extra cans they had on hand.

We at Hopping Gnome partner with neighboring businesses to promote to-go specials. Collaborating is something we do a lot here at “The Gnome.” For example, you can order a pizza at Piatto Neapolitan Pizzeria next door, and they will deliver fresh pizza to your table in our taproom. Patrons are often surprised to find out that we are two separate businesses, but the combination of pizza and beer make our partnership easy.

Can you tell we love Wichita?

If you’re new to Wichita and love craft beer, local bartenders can be some of the best tour guides. They will tell you all about area breweries, restaurants and attractions. Local craft beer lovers have created brewery crawls and even a craft beer tour bus for a fun brew-to-brew experience.

Times have not always been easy, but the region’s brew crew has been able to adapt and move forward with a little help from our friends.

On behalf of the local craft beer community, we hope to see you in our taprooms soon!

Cheers,

Stacy Ward Lattin

Co-Owner, Hopping Gnome Brewing

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