As we’ve explored in a number of our Look Back/Look Ahead Series articles this year, 2020 was not the most ideal year to open a brewery, but our legendary local beer community pulled together to make sure our new beer creators weathered the storm and lived to see brighter days.
One of those resilient breweries was Harmon Lane Brewing, located inside Southwest Grape & Grain. We reached out to brewer/co-owner Danny Harmon over email to learn about how this first year has gone, and what plans he has for the brewery’s bright future.
“With all the challenges 2020 provided, it has been a hard, slow grind to build some momentum. We are a very small brewery, in a unique location, so getting our name out, and getting people in the door has been a challenge,” Danny wrote. “We didn’t have an opportunity to have a ‘grand opening’ or a big celebratory bash of any kind. We have a very small seating area and patio. With limited capacity it has been a challenge to get people in the door.”
The speed bumps caused by Covid were a blessing in disguise, as they allowed Danny to familiarize himself with his brewing setup and focus on the beers he was producing.
“However, I feel it gave us time to figure some things out, and allowed me to modify my recipes on a new system,” he wrote. “As far as beers go … I am beyond proud of all of our beers. I work very hard on each and every beer, and don’t take a single brew day for granted, or rest on my laurels. Just having people coming in and enjoying beer that I created, and seeing growth each and every month, is a dream come true.”
Despite the uphill trek to get the brewery into the public eye and battling the restrictions of the pandemic, Harmon Lane’s first year has been full of positive moments.
“Our soft opening was a big highlight,” Danny wrote. “It was pre-Covid, and just having friends, family, and customers drinking my beer, smiling, and having fun was really a dream come true to me. Also, remodeling the bar area and bonus room was another highlight. Being able to define the ‘brewery/bar’ area from the shop was a lot of fun. I also believe it made a much more inviting area for people to sit down, relax, and enjoy having a beer.”
As with so many small businesses over the past year, Danny’s support system was a huge factor in how Harmon Lane managed to survive and thrive.
“First and foremost, has been the support of our family, friends, and loyal customers, and community,” he wrote. “I am blessed to have an amazing support system and team. My wife, kids, and parents’ support has been beyond what words can explain. Support from Donavan Lane, the other half of Harmon Lane, has been amazing and extremely trusting, and allowed me to really take the reins and run the brewing side of things.”
As our world begins to reopen, Danny wrote that he has plans to make the space at Southwest Grape & Grain more welcoming, and ensuring he can keep up with an increase in patrons.
“I feel we are really gaining momentum heading into the spring season,” he wrote. “I can tell you that we are going to be working on our patio in order to make a much more inviting and relaxing brewery experience. We will also be expanding our fermenting capacity in order to keep up with production. We also have a couple more projects, down the road, for inside the bar area that will be really exciting.
“My goal is that each and every person who walks through the door feels like part of the family. I want them to know that they are welcomed, appreciated, and we care about them. I will try my best to make sure each person has a wonderful experience when they come to Harmon Lane.”
With more beautiful weather around the corner and an improved patio in the works (not to mention some fantastic food truck partnerships) be sure to add Harmon Lane to your brewery rotation, or pick up a growler when you stop into Southwest Grape & Grain for your brewing supplies.
May the beer be with you, always.