Hank Hanna is feeling completely overwhelmed. His new brewery Commonhouse Aleworks is opening in less than 24 hours and he’s got a million things to do. But he’s also excited that it’s finally here. For most observers, closing on 4832 O’Hear Ave. in April 2017 and opening a brewery there in January 2018 seems a pretty quick turnaround. For Hanna and his business partner Pearce Fleming, it seems like ten years has gone by.
The official grand opening happens Saturday, Jan. 13 from 10 a.m.-10 p.m. and coincides with the Charleston Marathon finish line.
“We decided to take advantage of the crowds,” says Hanna. “And it would give us the opportunity to own that weekend in the future as our birthday.”
Attracting crowds shouldn’t be much of a problem based on their soft opening earlier this week. On Tuesday, Commonhouse received their license to sell alcohol and decided to invite the neighborhood in for a beer or two on Wednesday. Instead of blasting it out via social media channels, Hanna says they quietly put it on the Park Circle neighborhood Facebook page and were shocked with how many people showed up.
First in was Adam King, Hanna’s good friend, who purchased the very first beer, followed by a steady stream of people from 4 until 8 p.m.
“The Park Circle community is really tight and loyal to small businesses,” says Hanna. “We felt the love of this community even before opening.”
Commonhouse was built with community in mind. The 7,200 square-foot property accommodates a 1,100 square-foot taphouse inside with just as large a gathering space outside. Hanna says their bar is only a service bar with no seating.
“People get their beer and then go sit down at a community table,” he says. “We want to push people to hang out with people they might not know. Seeing what happened Wednesday, it’s proven to be a great model and everyone is really enjoying the atmosphere.”
For the grand opening, four Commonhouse brews will be on tap: Park Circle Pale Ale, a year-round offering Hanna says they’re very proud of; Oleander Pale; Pearce the Knife, an American stout; and Wise One Hefeweizen, the beer that started out as an award-winning homebrew of Fleming and Hanna. “It’s gone from homebrew to now we’re brewing it commercially,” says Hanna. They will also feature two guest taps to honor the support they received from Two Blokes Brewing and Revelry.
Other Saturday fun includes live music from Derek Cribb, Danny Madison and Tumbleweed, and Danielle Howle plus food trucks Brunch Holiday, Short Grain (who say this is their last event), BKeD SHoP and Dough Boyz Pizza, plus treats from Wich Cream.
Hanna invites everyone to stop by for a beer but begs you to have some patience with them as they will surely get crushed on their first day of business.