Locals pack new brewery, cigar lounge for St. Pat’s Day

The green beer was flowing, and the room was abuzz with neighbors and friends clad in green, eating cornedbeef sandwiches.

After months of anticipation, locals packed the new brewery on Friday, celebrating St. Patrick’s Day and the soft opening of Transport Brewery.

The brewery, which has been under construction in the former Gardner Health Mart Pharmacy space at 131 E. Main St., officially opens for business on Friday.

But on this day, it’s standing-room only shortly after the doors opened at 5 p.m. It isn’t long before the crowd runs the brewery out of drinking glasses, forcing the wait staff to serve craft beer in plastic cups.

Christie Jackson, operations manager, said she was impressed by Friday’s turnout.

“Dang, the people of Gardner came out,” she said.

Jackson said the community’s support has meant a lot, and the brewery staff was humbled by those who turned out to support the new business.

“Green is a good word for the day,” she said. “Everyone is really nice, receptive and happy.”

Gardner City Council Member Tory Roberts and Kansas Rep. Bill Sutton, R-Gardner, were among those who turned out.

“It is a wonderful addition to Gardner,” Roberts said. “It is the start of fabulous things.”

Sutton said he was excited for what Transport Brewery would bring to Gardner, noting that it was in a perfect location. Sutton added he had high hopes for the new business and planned on being a frequent patron.

“This place will help in keeping the positive growth going for Gardner,” he said.

Around the corner from the brewery, Ash & Anvil, a cigar lounge at 204 E. Park St., was also hosting a packed event.

Inside, cigar devotees and afficionados celebrated the special release of the St. Patrick’s Day Fire Cracker cigar – a collaboration between United Cigar Group and All Saints – while March Madness basketball games played in the background. Tipsy Tavern owner Aaliyah Jackson parked her beverage trailer on the back patio, serving up specialty cocktails, while Loaded Spudzz food truck sold food to hungry patrons out front.