Kochendorfer Brewing Company made history when the new brewery broke ground on McCurdy Rd in Duncan.
The celebratory event took place at 3 p.m. Friday, Oct. 12 at the Industrial Park. The brewery will sit on five acres of land located at 1155 McCurdy Rd.
Duncan Area Economic Development Foundation (DAEDF) President Lyle Roggow said this new addition to the Stephens County area and Duncan as a whole is one example of securing the goal of bringing diversity to the industrial market.
“This is a really, really awesome opportunity for our community,” Roggow said. “For the past five years, DAEDF has worked diligently to try to diversify the economy and the mix that we have within our community. Everybody knows, our economy has been based on oil based economy with manufacturing, so some of the things we have been focused on have been about diversification. It’s a direction we need to continue to work toward, not ever get away from your base foundation of what your community is about, but try to bring about new things as well to the community.”
Roggow explained that the brewery’s location was placed in the industrial park since it is still technically a manufacturing business because raw goods are brought in and turned into a final product.
Craft brewing practices are on the rise which likewise means that demand for craft beer is growing. Roggow said developing the brewery in the area will allow for the product to be shipped out while keeping trucks coming in and leaving the location from other locations where noise levels may be an issue.
Roggow expressed bringing the different type of business to the industrial park also helped add in a different flavor of manufacturing.
The brewery came to Duncan based on incentive, Roggow said, though the families all feel at home in Stephens County. The incentive this time wasn’t monetary, however.
“(Kochendorfer Brewing Company) were given a five year opportunity to invest … $300,000 — and I think we’ll probably double that before they get open — and create at least 10 new jobs in five years,” Roggow said. “In exchange for that, they get the land. If they did not achieve that, then they would have to pay for the land. In understanding how and what their needs were, we were trying to give them an incentive which would help make them successful.”
Roggow said the inspiration for a brewery in Duncan came from a gentleman based in Blanco, Texas he worked with previously this year.
After hearing about the brewery business, Roggow said he looked at numbers across the nation and in Oklahoma regarding employment specs.
“In 2017 The U.S. Craft Brewers had 6,266 individuals in the craft brewing industry across the United States,” Roggow said. “Oklahoma has 32 brewers today with 10 on the horizon to get into craft brewing themselves.”
According to Roggow, Duncan will be the only community in Southwest Oklahoma to have a brewery, meaning it opens the door for distribution of the local beer to not only Oklahoma City, but Wichita Falls, Altus and Lawton as well.
“I think once again, we’re putting Duncan back on the map,” he said. “Every time, we always seem to be the first to make these great steps in our community and within our state. We are very well known for that.”
Lenny and Kathryn Cripps and Chris and Laura (Coast) Kochendorfer began working on the Kochendorfer Brewing Company several years ago. When the two couples first met, they discovered they shared one thing in common: the dream of one day opening a brewery.
The company began in Oklahoma City and was birthed by the “entrepreneurial spirit” of the Kochendorfers and the Cripps’ intellect on the craft beer industry.
According to the owners, the brewery will sit on five wooded acres of land with a goal of being a destination for friends and families to get together.
While the couples plan to man the brewery themselves in the beginning, they will be looking for an assistant brewer. Once their taproom is up and running, Laura said they will begin to hire bar and service staff.
The brewing company will begin by releasing their original six beers and the owners plan to host tours, as well as maintain a taproom for craft beer purchases. Plans include a large covered patio space, bandstand, food trucks, dog park, family friendly outdoor games, walking trails, as well as a fenced-in playground so that families can get away for the day and enjoy the outdoors together.
Chris Kochendorfer said they’re more than excited for everything they have planned for the future brewery.
“It’s what we’ve been looking for,” he said. “Duncan came up as an option and it just made sense.”
Lenny Cripps said their first priority is flavoring Duncan and getting added to restaurant menus across the city.
“We wanna be the local brewery and just expand from there,” Cripps said.
Kochendorfer expressed it’ll probably grow quicker than expected, which is the dream for them.
The owners are looking to open the doors to Kochendorfer Brewing Company in April 2019, weather permitting.
For more information, visit www.kochendorferbrewing.com or visit Duncan Area Economic Development Foundation or Kochendorfer Brewing Company on Facebook.
Story provided by The Duncan Banner
Written by: Charlene Belew