The two co-founders behind an upcoming Pflugerville brewery seemed to have an easy start to their project.
They purchased the building that formerly housed Rogness Brewing, as well as all of the brewing equipment left behind, in August. They expected Flying Man Brewing, because of that, would be open in no time — but are now anticipating a summertime debut of the brewery and taproom, with an Indiegogo campaign up now to raise last-minute funds.
Adam Caudill and Matt Barker, who met through their mutual loves of flying and homebrewing, decided they didn’t want to repeat the mistakes of the former tenants, Rogness, which closed up shop in mid-July with the promise that another brewery, in another space, was on the way. The building also needed plumbing and electrical updates to satisfy the City of Austin, which annexed that part of town after Rogness had already opened in 2012.
Now, Caudill and Barker are neck-deep in sawdust, pipes and the construction tools that will bring their smartly designed vision to life.
“It’s been a much bigger project than we originally thought,” Barker said. “We could have just left it exactly the way that it was, but we wanted to make it our own. That was really important to us because the ante’s going up every single day. You go into a brewery and you want a certain wow factor. For us, we want people to come in and leave and tell their friends, ‘Dude, you really need to check that place out. It looks amazing.'”
But Flying Man Brewing won’t just awe with a cool taproom. The two owners have hired Dan Wheeler, a former brewer at Rogness — and, most recently, at Solid Rock Brewing — who knows the ins and outs of the building and brewing system and how to update both to make them better.
As a result of his influence, the quality of the beer and the overall taproom experience for customers will also be better than it would have been, the Flying Man founders said.
“Dan’s become a pretty key part with what we’re doing now,” Caudill said. “He’s been able to help us future-proof the brewery. We’re going to be able to grow without any really big steps changing what we have to do. I think once we’re up and running that we’ll have room for a canning line. We have allocated space for that now.”
Wheeler, for his part, is excited to take the lessons he learned at Rogness and apply them to Flying Man. Caudill and Barker already knew they wanted to add insulation and install a large 18-foot fan on the ceiling to make the space more welcoming to taproom visitors, but Wheeler is able to share with them brewing-related ideas that he wishes could have been implemented at Rogness if the finances had been available.
“Now that we’re part of the city, everything has to be kind of brought to a different level, and it’s been fun going through there and making those changes and making them in a way that’s going to benefit the brewery,” he said. “It’s going to be easier to work in and hopefully make us more productive. Get more beer out there.”
He’ll be in charge of the brewing operations, for the most part, but each of them plan to contribute their recipes. Barker, for example, makes an orange-chocolate porter beloved among his friends and family that will now be made on a larger scale.
Flying Man Brewing will also release a blonde, a seasonal wheat, a saison, a red ale, an IPA, a double IPA and a stout, in addition to constantly rotating experimental brews. Because it’s licensed as a brewpub, Flying Man will offer bottles and crowlers of all of these beers to go. But before any customers visit the space, there will be a couple of beers already on the market to introduce locals ahead of time to what Flying Man can do.
“One of the first couple of beers we do is going to be a honey wheat with a little bit of molasses in it. It’s a pre-Prohibition German-style ale that I’ve done for several years and everyone seems to love,” Wheeler said.
Caudill and Barker are still brainstorming beer names, but they’re hoping to have an aviation theme with each of them. Barker is a competition hang glider pilot; Caudill, on the other hand, prefers paragliding. (Those might seem like similar windswept activities — think again.)
As a result of this other shared passion, both want to make sure their brewery becomes a hangout for people in the aviation industry. It was fellow pilots, often drinking their homebrew after flights and swapping “I thought I was going to die up there” stories, Barker said, who first encouraged them to open a brewery.
The Indiegogo campaign hopes to raise $25,000 toward that goal. Whether Flying Man Brewing is able to open by the end of summer isn’t dependent on the money, Caudill said, although it’ll certainly help.
“These projects are expensive, more than we budgeted for,” he said. “And to do it right, to finish it, we’ve got to raise some capital. We’re going to make it happen either way, but we think it’s an opportunity to reach out to the local market and offer them something and get a boost out there: who we are, what we’re about. We’ll offer them something, but in return we can finish the plumbing, the electrical, the backyard.”
Right now, Flying Man has about $3,500, with a little more than two weeks left until the campaign ends. To donate, check out the progress of the construction, or learn more about the brewery, visit facebook.com/FlyingManBeer.