A pair of brothers-in-law plan to open a nanobrewery in Herndon’s Sunset Park complex: Andrew Kelley and Kai Leszkowicz have signed a lease for 257 Sunset Park.
Kelley, a resident of Clarendon, and Leszkowicz, a resident of Herndon, named the business after their wives’ family name, Aslin. “Kai and I decided to enter the business a few years after we had been brewing together in 2012. We formed a really strong relationship through brewing beer and hanging out together, drinking craft beer and thought it would be cool to share the same platform with others,” said Kelley.
Although the site has not yet opened, the Aslin company has been welcomed into the Herndon community.
“I am thrilled to have the craft beer movement's arrival in Herndon,” said Town of Herndon Mayor Lisa Merkel. “The owners of Aslin Beer Company are just the right fit for the town... I wholeheartedly welcome Herndon's first nanobrewery and I look forward to cutting the ribbon and lifting a glass at Aslin later this summer.”
A third owner, Richard Thompson, will run the operation full time while Andrew Kelley and Kai Leszkowicz keep their day jobs.
“We had met Richard at multiple family gatherings. Kai and I formed the same relationship with Richard after brewing for a few years,” said Kelley.
The new business is in the process of building out the space and will soon install brewing equipment. “We bought American made equipment and will have a 2-bbl brew house with multiple fermenters,” said Kelley. Aslin will not offer food in the immediate future, but will allow patrons to order food from local restaurants.
The owners plan to make five flagship beers: an American IPA; a Double Rye Pale Ale; a West Coast IPA; an Imperial Stout; and a Czech Pilsner. While a larger portfolio of beers is being planned, these beers will start off the opening month.
The owners say the 2.250-square-foot location is an ideal location for private parties. They hope to partner with the neighboring Sunset Park NextStop Theatre for special events. “It would be great to have a local brewery nearby,” said lighting designer AnnMarie Castrigno. (Castrigno has designed lighting for many productions at the Herndon Industrial Strength Theatre.)
“We are shooting to open in August. We will be planning opening events as we get closer to the date,” said Kelly.
Start-up costs are expected to top $150,000. The owners have a group of investors but are also crowdfunding on a Go Fund Me page.
“We have formed a good relationship with the Town of Herndon and Mayor Lisa Merkel. She and her team have helped us identify a great location in Herndon and are really making an effort to make us feel at home and part of the community.” Associates of Aslin brewery will be at the Herndon Festival promoting the brewery.
“It is exciting news that there will be more local breweries,” said Deborah Khuanghlawn, a resident of Fairfax and craft beer enthusiast. Khuanghlawn says the most appealing thing a brewery can offer is good flagship beers.