Phantom Brewing in Hartford is bucking the trend. Instead of contracting, it’s expanding. Out of necessity.
“It has been an adventure for us. A lot of hard work,” said co-owner, Jon Patrei.
Amidst a pandemic, while many other businesses struggle, Phantom Brewing is growing. Originally a home brewing supply company, they’re now, as of this week, an actual brewer.
"Just having the brewery be able to kick in here during this time is gonna help us kind of survive,” said Patrei.
The plan to expand the business and open the brewery had been 13 months in the making. While the original business model was struggling, pausing the brewery launch was not an option.
“Unfortunately, financially we’re unable to do that,” said co-owner, Bo Kolcia. “We would be out of business if we did that.”
Pushing onward, Phantom is already selling product online for curbside pickup.
“Yesterday we sold 532 [32-ounce] crowlers,” said Patrei. “And today we sold another 400 crowlers.”
Still, there is one aspect missing.
“People would be sitting on this side,” explained Kolcia, while pointing to an empty bar setting. “We’d be filling their beers on this side. Over there would be the tap-room.”
For now, the tap-room is empty and will have to wait. But these owners aren’t complaining and say they are excited and thankful that they’re allowed to operate.