Friction Beer Co., the brainchild of 2 home brewers JoCo, occupying a significant space in downtown Shawnee


Four years of home brewing, half a dozen beer festivals and a pandemic later, Friction Beer Co. found a permanent home in downtown Shawnee.

Local brewers and business partners Brent Anderson of Fairway and Nathan Ryerson of Shawnee are relocating their brewing operations and opening a sales room in the former Hartman Hardware space at 11018 Johnson Drive.

Friction Beer Co. signed the lease two weeks ago and is expected to open in spring 2022.

Anderson said they were “super excited, honored and motivated” to be a part of the momentum and revitalization of downtown Shawnee, especially as the visions come together to make the area a destination with d ‘other local stores and brands.

“It wasn’t something we envisioned,” said Anderson, “but the more we talked to the city and heard about their plans and how smart and progressive they were and how they really wanted to make this an area that honors history and community, but at the same time was really cutting edge and made it a true destination area in Kansas City… oh man, we just hit a gold mine.

Friction Beer Co. will be the third brewery to come to downtown Shawnee in the past two years.

The area has also seen the revitalization of the Aztec Theater, the conversion of the OK garage to McLain’s Market and the addition of the Drastic Measures cocktail bar.

Additionally, about a week before Friction Beer Co.’s announcement, local businessman Dan Pflumm made public his plans to renovate the historic Shawnee State Bank building at the southwest corner of Johnson and Nieman.

A “fortuitous” connection with Shawnee

The entry of Friction Beer Co. into downtown Shawnee is part of the continued drive by private and public entities across the region to revitalize downtown Shawnee and make it a destination.

Meanwhile, Anderson said he and Ryerson have been busy perfecting brewing recipes and have been looking for space to rent for brewing operations and a tasting room for some time.

They examined Waldo in Kansas City, Missouri, as well as North Kansas City, West Bottoms, and the Crossroads District. But when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, they stopped brewing altogether.

“I mean it was COVID; we weren’t meeting, ”Anderson said. “We were just kinda going, like, how do we keep that alive?” We reacted like everyone else.

Then last fall they were “casually” linked to the Shawnee Chamber of Commerce and city staff, as well as Russ Pearson.

Pearson Lee’s Summit’s Box Real Estate Development company is behind the efforts to reallocate the Hartman Hardware space and build a new mixed-use site called Blume Shawnee just down Nieman Road.

Anderson said Pearson convinced them to dream bigger than the garage space on the east side of the building, and instead consider taking over the entire two-story space.

Part of the building had housed Hartman Hardware for 74 years. Company owners Lisa and Mike Unterreiner retired, shut down the business last fall, and left the state.

With Shawnee Shoe Repair and Tailoring recently leaving her space next door and taking to the streets, Anderson said they also hope to see a food component there at the corner of Johnson Drive and Nieman Road.

“Timing is really everything, and I think the way it all came together made us believe in it even more,” Anderson said. “And knowing what they’re planning for the next two or three years, this area will be different night and day very soon, and in a fantastic way.”

Brewery design and artisanal menu

Friction Beer Co. will convert the ground floor into an intimate bar and transform the second floor into a brewery overlooking Johnson Drive. Above is an undated photo from Hartman Hardware.

Regarding the brewery and faucet room design, Anderson said they would convert the ground to ground level into an intimate faucet room with the main bar and dedicate the garage to brewing operations.

Meanwhile, the entire upstairs floor will serve as a large brasserie that will open onto a rooftop patio overlooking Johnson Drive.

In a way, the upstairs area will pay homage to its former glory as a dance hall a century earlier, Anderson said, noting that they are once again making it a gathering space for the community.

They say they hope to one day host live music and other entertainment.

With Anderson’s professional background at Boulevard Brewing Company combined with Ryerson’s sales experience – and the business partners’ love of great beer – they plan to specialize in a variety of lagers and stouts, with occasional lagers and seltzer.

“If a bunch of friends come out and one of them isn’t a beer drinker, we’ll have something for you,” Anderson added, “but our identity will be a brewery.”


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