The following responses are a result of a brief Q&A session with Troy Orton and Alexandra McKeown, the two founding faces of what could become urban Jacksonville’s newest craft brewery — Hyperion Brewing Company.
Alexandra McKeown, the two founding faces of what will be Jacksonville’s newest Brewery—Hyperion Brewing Company.
1. Kristen Pickrell: What made you decide to open up a brewery? And why call it Hyperion?
Alexandra McKeown - Opening a brewery accomplished two things for Troy and I. Troy wanted to brew beer professionally and I wanted to own my own company and work for myself. We essentially killed two birds with one stone deciding to open a brewery. We chose “Hyperion” because we wanted a bold and classic name. Hyperion is the name of a Greek Titan ascribed as the god of watchfulness, wisdom and light. He is referred to as the Father of the Universe. Others have used the name before us: Dan Simmons with his science fiction novels and Marvel with their supervillain. The name implies strength and a sense of wonder, which we use as inspiration for our company and the beer.
2. KP: Tell me a little bit about yourself, and your team or partners at Hyperion.
Troy Orton – Before I reconnected with Alex, I was home brewing with the hopes of one day holding a professional brewing position. She had always wanted to own a business and I knew I would need a partner so it was a natural fit. I started to focus on honing my skills and committed to brewing a new batch of beer every week while she started to draft up a business plan. A year later here we are.
3. KP: How hard has this project been in terms of paperwork, permits, grants, and the works? Have you faced any major complications trying to get this project going?
AM - We haven’t experienced any major obstacles yet, but we’ve listened to our colleagues tell stories of opening their breweries. We are mentally prepared for any and all surprises. We are currently working on the funding to open our brewery and securing a location in the urban core of Jacksonville.
4. KP: What sort of style or atmosphere can people expect at this brewery?
TO- I have a deep love for Art Deco as a design style so hopefully you’ll be able to see some of that influence in the taproom. It should feel dynamic and clean, but still be warm and inviting.
AM – I don’t know if you’ve heard the word “Gemutlichkeit.” It doesn’t have a direct translation from German to English but it describes a state of friendliness, belonging and good cheer. Troy shared this with me a year ago and it embodies the experience we want people to have in the tap room.
5. KP: When and where can we expect Hyperion to open?
AM - We’ve seen companies too eager to announce an opening date and then have to delay. We will of course communicate openly when we know more about our timeline to open. We do have a newsletter people can sign up for through our website if they want to stay updated on our progress.