Transport Brewery plans to open microbrewery, taproom in downtown Shawnee

Transport Brewery hopes to be open in downtown Shawnee by this fall.

A new brewery, complete with award-winning, locally-crafted beers, is opening in Shawnee.

Construction is expected to begin soon for Transport Brewery at 11113 Johnson Drive, next to Aztec Theater and across from Shawnee City Hall. Tim Squires, one of the four partners of the new microbrewery, said they hope to be open in September and produce 300 to 400 barrels in their first year.

The partners — Squires, Mike McVey, Jason Leib and Jonathan Williamson — are all Johnson County residents who have been brewing their own craft beers for roughly eight years, Squires added.

The taproom in the microbrewery will offer 12 to 18 beers produced in-house. Squires said they are considering expanding the drink menu, depending on customer interest, to include a small selection of locally-produced wines and spirits, and perhaps some craft cocktails.

“We’ll probably devote only two or three taps to easy-drinking, year-round, around 5 percent alcohol [beers],” Squires said. “The rest of them will be devoted to things we create and come up with.”

Squires said the mix of beer served in a family-friendly atmosphere will reflect the partners’ varied interests and experiments with home-brewed craft beer. Some of their concoctions have won awards in local brewery competitions, he added.

“We all compete quite a lot,” he said.

Squires is particularly proud of his cherry limeade Berliner, a tart wheat beer that has won a few awards.

“I actually got to scale it up with Tallgrass Brewery in Manhattan,” Squires said. “Because I won a competition, I was able to go to Tallgrass and brew on their system.”

McVey and Leib also do well with their Belgian-style beers, Squires said, adding that he also makes India pale ales.

“In the grand scheme of things, we’re going to be operating a pretty small brewing system, but it allows us a lot of flexibility to brew often but also experiment with the different styles and additions to the beer,” Squires said.

Squires said the partners were attracted to the historic feel of downtown Shawnee. After connecting through Johnson County Brewing Society, the partners embarked on a roughly three-year journey to find a good site to open up their own brewery — something that speaks to the character of the business.

The partners soon found exactly what they were looking for: the 100-plus-year-old building had just the right “unique character” in downtown Shawnee.

“It’s not going to make a ton of money, [but] it’s something we’re all definitely passionate about that we want to be able to share with the public,” Squires said, adding that several businesses have called that space home over the past century, most recently the late Joe B. Vise’s law practice.

“We just really liked the history behind it; it’s a cool building,” Squires said. “With a lot of the revitalization, the corridor project and the Aztec Theater, we just think it’s the right time to be in downtown Shawnee and spearhead the revitalization in the area.”