A microbrewery that comes complete with its own fantasy storyline is looking to set up shop in St. Francis.
The owners of Faklandia Brewing have submitted an application to use the building at 2525 E. Crawford Ave. as a brewery and tap room. The city's Planning Commission will consider the special use application when it meets on Wednesday evening.
Benjamin Mantay, co-owner and chief operating officer of Faklandia, said the idea of creating a brewing company with a fantasy twist came up in 2017. That's when he and Nate Fakler, Faklandia co-owner and progenitor/brewer, realized they both had a dream of opening up their own brewery while they were tasting other craft beers.
However, this would be the brewery's first permanent location. Up to this point, Fakler has been brewing beer from his home on the weekends. Once the brewery is set up, the two owners will transition into running the business full time.
Mantay said the plan is to be fully up and running by spring 2020. To start, they will be brewing some of their "flagship" beers, such as their Liz Wizz American pilsner, Salamandra strawberry creme ale, Thuja pineapple smash ale and Palladius American pale ale.
He added the building only needs a few improvements, such as painting the floor, building the bar area, adding furniture and putting in a stage for live performances and karaoke. The brewing system has also been ordered and will likely be shipped out soon.
According to the application, a walk-in cooler and half-wall surrounding the brewing equipment will also be installed.
"It's such a fantastic space, there's really not too much for us to do," Mantay said.
According to a city report, the bar and seating area will be about 2,900 square feet, which allows seating for 96 patrons. It further states there will be five employees per shift working there.
Even though Faklandia has functioned so far without a permanent location, it has amassed a loyal following and some of its beer has won awards, said Mantay.
They cater to anyone who likes craft beer, but also specifically to those who have an interest in the fantasy theme. Both Fakler and Mantay grew up immersed in stories and games like Lord of the Rings and Dungeons & Dragons.
"We figured we’d stick with what we know, and we know there are plenty of people out there who also live that life and we figured we’d cater to them," Mantay said.
Each beer is named after a character or location in a fantasy storyline the two are creating. For instance, the story features characters such as the Lizard Wizard (the pilsner beer) and Princess Salamandra (the strawberry creme ale). Each release will comprise of several beers that build on the story.
In fact, brewing beer makes up just one part of their overall business plan. Mantay said the two also are working on a card game and board game based on the fantasy tale. They also plan to incorporate geocaching, a recreational activity in which people find things hidden in the world through the use of GPS. The two plan to hide specific items, and if a patron finds them, they can bring the item or items in for special discounts.
"We want to meld creativity and deliciousness," said Mantay.