He’s an award-winning brewer who just so happens to possess the look and vibe of a genuine St. Patrick’s Day leprechaun.
In late June, Patrick and his wife, Kaycee Root, purchased the brewery from Tom Kryzer and Jason Algya, who opened Third Place in August 2016. The Roots have run the business as Third Place until last week, when they closed to repaint inside.
But the couple — who moved to Wichita from Laramie, Wyoming, two years ago to be closer to family — said they always planned to re-brand the brewery and make it their own. Patrick, who started as a home brewer, later got a job brewing beer at Altitude Chophouse & Brewing in Laramie and brewed beer there for 12 years, the last four of which he served as head brewer. While there, Patrick won many top beer awards, including a gold medal at the World Beer Cup and two gold medals and a bronze at the Great American Beer Festival.
When the Roots decided to relocate to Wichita with their four children, now ages 4 to 12, Patrick knew he wanted to have his own brewery. The Roots have been working on a business plan for the past two years and were even looking at real estate when a friend told them they’d heard Third Place was for sale.
“We made a phone call, and one thing led to another,” Patrick said.
On Wednesday, the couple started the transition from Third Place to The Leprechaun’s Lab. They put three of Patrick’s beers on tap, including an ESB, a strong ale with 8.5 percent alcohol by volume, and the green chili American blonde ale that they took last month to Johnson’s Garden Center’s Iron Chilehead competition under the Third Place Brewing name.
As Patrick brews more beers, the “leprechauns” will take over taps, one at a time. Until then, the Roots will also serve Third Place’s beers, among others. They’re planning a grand opening of The Leprechaun’s Lab later in September, when they get all their new signs and merchandise in. When they do, they’ll also expand the brewery’s hours. For now, it’s open only Wednesdays through Saturdays, but at the end of the month, it’ll add Sundays and Mondays as well.
The brewery got its name, said Kaycee — a fourth grade teacher with USD 259 — because, well, her husband looks like a leprechaun. He also has a full leprechaun suit that he’s known to don in March.
“So St. Patrick’s Day has always been fun,” she said with a laugh.
The brewery will still operate exclusively as a taproom, as it did when it was Third Place. There’s no room for a kitchen, Patrick said, but people are welcome to bring their own food from local restaurants or even a “family-style picnic” from home.
Families are welcome at the brewery, and the Roots hope people will hang out and play board games inside or lawn games in the brewery’s outdoor space.
“We’re just really trying to promote this as a fun hangout place for friends or families,” she said.