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Group of friends go from homebrewing to opening Louisville's newest brewery

A group of friends turned a hobby for homebrew into Louisville’s newest brewery with the goal of bringing the community together.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Just a few years ago, the thought of owning a brewery wasn’t even on the mind of the crew at Kyros Brewing in Portland.

Today, what started as a hobby has grown into a business, and an effort to connect people from all over Louisville.

“We never intended to serve beer here,” Rich Shanks said. He’s one of the six co-owners of Kyros Brewing and he's in charge of sales and merchandise.

“It was always just going to be a place for friends and family to come hang out with us while we brewed the beer, but our social media went crazy when they found out that we we’re going to be opening a brewery in deep Portland,” Shanks said.

“The days that we’ve been open have really been all about sitting out in this great space and enjoying each other’s company. It’s been amazing,” Shanks continued.

The idea for Kyros spawned in the most unlikely of circumstances.

Shanks explained that in 2020, in the middle of the COVID 19 pandemic, he and his wife, Brewer and FOH Manager Cameron Shanks, were welcomed in by a friend while their house needed repairs. A two-day stay turned into a two-week stay in the age of social distancing and limiting human interactions.

“We did what we called Porch Time, every single night. And the four of us that started that first night ended up being a total of 28 people at the end of that two weeks. All race, all religion, all political affiliation and what we realized was you don’t know how much you need community until you don’t have it,” Shanks said.

Those nights on the porch, drinking beers sparked an idea.

“The six of us were sitting in that group and literally looked at each other and said, ‘It’s time. It’s time to do this brewery,’” Shanks said.

The group built off of a homebrewing hobby that Master Brewer Taylor Diaz and his wife, Marketing Coordinator Sarah Diaz, had.

“My wife and I got into homebrewing about six years ago now, 6-7 years ago,” Diaz said. “We started out as kind of a small, but I don’t do anything small, so it started out as a pretty serious hobby.”

The group took over an old firehouse in the 2400 block of Portland Avenue, fixed it up, and opened up their brewery on Derby Day. 

Shanks says the goal is to expand, open up the front of the building to have seating in both the front of the brewery and in the secret beer garden in the back.

“Taylor always say, ‘The front space is where customers become friends. The back porch is where friends become family',” Shanks said.

That message defines what Kyros is about; creating a space where people from all over the city could come and experience community. For Shanks and the team at Kyros, that part of their mission won’t change.

“I think the neatest thing about this is truly being able to take that community feeling that we had on that back porch where everyone, didn’t matter who you were, what your opinions were, it all mattered, we just wanted to be together," Shanks said.

Kyros is open for business Friday nights from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. and on Saturdays from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m.

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