Inside an industrial-style building off Business Loop 70, a new, open-concept addition to Columbia’s Logboat Brewing Co. is brewing. Here, its founders hope creativity and brewing knowledge will be the center of customers’ experiences.
Logboat co-founders Judson Ball, Tyson Hunt and Andrew Sharp have been working on the new company, called Waves Cider Co., since last summer. At the new facility, located at 604 Nebraska Ave., the company will primarily brew cider, wine and barrel-aged beer.
There’s no specific opening date yet, Ball said, and opening depends on the COVID-19 situation. However, the co-founders are hopeful to open for private events by early summer 2020.
“We’re communicating with our staff every day and trying to talk through every single possibility we can, making sure that when the time is right to open that we’re safe and have a clean environment for everyone,” Ball said.
Logboat Brewing opened in Columbia in 2014 and has since made its mark across Missouri and beyond. In 2019, the company won a medal at the Great American Beer Festival. The company brews almost 300,000 gallons of beer per year for 37 Missouri counties, according to previous Missourian reporting.
In reaction to the Boone County and Columbia stay-at-home orders, Logboat has cut back on production and focused on canned beer. It has also turned to curbside service at its main location on Fay Street.
The co-founders recently installed the four cider tanks to the new location and have been adding finishing touches, such as artwork and wallpaper, Ball said. So far, COVID-19 hasn’t affected the construction timeline. Down the line, they will be landscaping a patio for customers to sit outside.(tncms-inline)1261095149079322625(/tncms-inline)
The new location will have tables and bar seats for customers to order a drink and hang out. But, unlike the Fay Street location, a main focus of Waves Cider Co. will be private events, Hunt said.
Logboat receives many requests for private events that the current location can’t always fill. This is because the largest area at its Fay Street location is the large grass area, which is used weather permitting, Hunt said. The new facility will provide a bigger indoor space to fill these requests.
The new location is designed to allow customers to be “up close and personal” with products and the Logboat brewing process, Hunt said. Much of the floor space will be dedicated to the barrels and tanks so customers can see the process firsthand.
The co-founders envision holding classes to teach people about Waves’ process.
With the amount of beer produced at the main Logboat location, the room for experimentation is slim. The smaller-scale-production nature of this new location will allow brewers to try new blends and mixtures without much risk.
“We’re so limited at our other space,” Sharp said. “We’re going to have free rein here.”
Logboat head brewer Josh Rein will also be the head cider maker at Waves, Ball said.
The company described the combination — the open process and endless possibility — as an “adult version of (Willy) Wonka” in a 2019 Facebook post announcing the location.
Part of the reason for the new business endeavor is that the co-founders want to create a gluten-free option. Ball, who is allergic to beer himself, said he’s excited to go on this “cider adventure” for that reason.
Getting into cider production will also allow the company to use more Missouri-made products, which isn’t practical in beer production because there aren’t enough available Missouri hops and other ingredients to produce the amount of beer the company does, Sharp said. However, the company can obtain plenty of Missouri-grown apples.
The co-founders have some acreage near Three Creeks Conservation Area, where they plan to grow different types of apple trees and figure out which apples are the tastiest for cider, Hunt said.