A new Brewer's Row
The trio is proud to operate the neighborhood’s first brick-and-mortar brewery in more than 40 years. “We always knew we wanted to be in Brooklyn, but we wanted something with public access, so people could drink our beer fresh from the tanks, see us, and meet us,” Kinney says. “We also lucked out with a great landlord. We named our [Janiak Maniac] pilsner after him.”
“I really hope we’re a good business and a contributor to Bushwick,” Bellis says. “It’s a neighborhood that was pretty hard up economically, and a lot of great people have helped build that neighborhood into something really positive. People like Joe [Ficalora] started the Bushwick Collective. Local bars like Pearl’s and Heavy Woods have been around since before we started. Places like Bushwick Starr, who decided to invest in that neighborhood before it was a hot place to invest. I just hope us moving in has helped elevate everything else great that’s happening there.”
Bellis, Lengyel, and Kinney agree that day-to-day business in the neighborhood makes it a great place to brew. “There’s a steel company, a paper company, a plastic company, a theater, a smoke shop, and a tile company all literally on our block on Jefferson Street,” Bellis says. “It’s almost an epitome of Brooklyn, right down to the great street art. It’s almost like an SNL sketch.”
After they’d brewed their first batches, the team realized they were going to need extra hands to grow. “The only thing we really got wrong in our business plan was assuming we would only have to hire two other people in our first year,” Bellis says. “We were really off.”
Their hires multiplied. One, Ben Williams, who works on special projects, says he settled in with KCBC “because frankly they’re a fucking good brewery.” And sometimes it’s just that simple.
Each founder humbly hesitates when I ask them to reveal their favorite beer. As adept as they are at making award-winning IPAs, brown ales, fruited sours, or lagers, they’re still convinced they’re all figuring things out along the way.
“The fact that we’re trying to be as fluid as popular has made us easier to get into,” Kinney says. “It’s consistent with the fluidity of the craft beer scene in New York.”