Rockcreek Brewing Company plans new brewery and pub in downtown Mission

Leah Wankum - August 2, 2018 11:00 am
The group is in the process of purchasing the Run Rite Automotive building for the home of the new Rockcreek Brewery. Photo credit Johnson County Appraiser’s Office.

Another microbrewery is getting ready to call Mission home. The owners of Rockcreek Brewing Company are on the path to opening a brewery and pub in downtown Mission.

Mark Schonhoff and his wife, Sara Charlson, have teamed up with their former coworkers at Cerner — Craig Reed, Chris Murrish and Sameer Brahmavar — to realize their dream of owning and operating their own craft brewery. In fact, their 20-year professional history inspired their name for the brewery: Cerner’s headquarters are on Rockcreek Parkway in North Kansas City.

Schonhoff said they are in the process of purchasing the building for Run Rite Automotive & Machine Shop, at 5880 Beverly Avenue. They just signed the contract for the building last week.

“We’ve been looking at various locations in Kansas City for the past couple of years,” Schonhoff said. “And we think we’ve finally found the right one, and if everything goes well, we’ll start marching towards getting the actual brewery open.”

It’s the latest in a wave of new small brewery operations planned for the area. Brew Lab opened its tap room in downtown Overland Park last year. Since then, Sandhills Brewing in Mission and Limitless Brewing in Lenexa have announced plans to open new brewing operations here.

The group of friends and coworkers behind Rockcreek started growing a passion for home brewing, Schonhoff said, adding that they’ve also enjoyed finding local craft breweries on their travels together and develop their own unique craft beers at home.

“We think it creates a great sense of community; it did for us and we think it does for other people, getting together over a pint,” Schonhoff said. “We just decided to give it a go.”

Schonhoff said he and the other owners, who all live in the Kansas City metro area, plan to “cover the gamut from a craft brewery standpoint,” brewing about 300 barrels their first year of India pale ales, porters, stouts, sours and lighter beers. Once the brew pub is open, Rockcreek will offer their beers to drink on site as well as for carry-out. They hope to grow to 2,000 barrels a year by year five.

The Mission planning commission on Monday recommended the council issue a special use permit for the microbrewery — legally classified as a nanobrewery because of how few barrels it plans to brew. The Mission council will consider in its Aug. 15 meeting the special use permit, which would allow Rockcreek to operate a drinking establishment for customers to buy and drink craft beer on site.

Anticipated business hours will be 4-9 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and noon-7 p.m. Sunday.

Rockcreek is also working to get licensed to sell alcohol in Kansas. After closing on the purchase, the owners will find an engineer to help refurbish the building and, eventually, hire a professional brewer to assist with production.

Brian Scott, assistant city administrator, said Rockcreek plans to open by March of 2019.

The business owner of the nearby Kansas City Brazilian Jiu Jitsu studio raised concerns at the planning commission meeting about adequate parking. Scott told the community development committee Wednesday that the property doesn’t have enough on-site parking or nearby public parking, but the planning commission determined there was enough street parking to make up for it.

Scott said Rockcreek plans to install a small kitchen with a small menu, and possibly work with a food truck that would park on the south side of the building.

Councilmember Ken Davis expressed concerns with proper food handling requirements and hopes the staff broaches the subject of food health safety to Rockcreek as well as to a second brewery, Sandhills Brewing Company, which also received planning commission approval for a special use permit to operate in downtown Mission.

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