Tuesday marked Zeroday Brewing Company’s first day of business.
They’re not quite yet open to the public — the grand opening is slated for 12:30 p.m. on April 8 — but this week hosted their private, soft opening events. Invitees included partners, friends and supporters.
The first time I interviewed Theo and Brandalynn Armstrong, we met at an #HBGtweetup on the deck of the Abbey Bar.
It wasn’t the first time we met, though — we had actually met a year or so before at a former coworker’s Christmas party. Brandalynn and I confessed later than neither of us particularly cared for the other.
Another year or so later, Theo brewed a saison for Tierney’s birthday, and maybe that’s what happens when your friend’s friends bring over a high-tech trashcan full of beer, but eventually the whole lot of us became pretty dang close.
So back at the Abbey Bar, they talked to me about their goals and vision for their brand. They sneaked me a six-pack to take home and sample. At the time, they were in full campaign mode, raising start-up capitol for their dream through the crowdfunding platform, Indiegogo, immediately following their brand launch on April 20, 2013.
It was later that summer that they invited me to their annual “Beer Fest” at their home, a full-on bottle share, plus Alter Ego brews on tap. It was there I got to try Theo’s “BeerFest” Beer, not at all a typical German “fest” beer, but instead just the best mango habanero pale ale I’ve ever had (ever, people), which hopefully I can semi-assist in recreating en masse soon (I’m holding on to some frozen local habaneros).
The Armstrongs were doing a variety of tasting events throughout the area, at craft-friendly bars, BYOB spots and parties. I asked them to do samples for a few of my Booze Cruises, and last summer they brewed a special Booze Cruise IPA and put half the batch on Weiser Orchard peaches, and both were a huge hit.
They also were included in a massive, five-brewery collaboration last year, led by Pizza Boy Brewing Co.
Meanwhile, throughout this time, the pair was working in the background between their full-time jobs to secure a location, funds, equipment, design and plan a renovation and further develop their goals.
They made a conscious decision to plan for a prosperous future, and in so, sought trademark for their brand. Unfortunately, through this process they discovered a global trademark wasn’t available, and the couple at that point opted to change their brewery name and thereby preserve their brand for growth.
Somehow, I think Zeroday suits them even better, and the new logo — designed by our friend Bart Kaminski of Kollision Media — beautifully tied in their original brand with some of the physical elements of their new space. I love the idea Brandalynn and Theo suggest of Harrisburg being “a zeroday town.”
In the few years I’ve know the Armstrongs, they continue to impress me. First and foremost, they’re fun people with big hearts. You can’t help but smile when you’re in their presence. But when talk turns towards business — their business — you can see their demeanor shift; they’re serious and dedicated.
The Armstrongs talk often about realizing their dream, but these two are decidedly doers.
Theo is hands-on, the type to do it himself before hiring out, whether building the deck on their home or rigging up a custom, portable sampling system. He is just as calculated when it comes to brewing, which why you won’t find Zeroday’s beers suffering from “first batch syndrome.” His ginger beer (NA) is exquisite, brewed with loads of real ginger, and it’s already becoming a cult favorite.
Brandalynn — though she also assists with brewing — handles much of the business side of brewery operations. Coming from an accomplished background in sales and insurance, she is well versed in marketing. She not only gets their shared big picture, but has thoughtful plans on execution, core company values and future growth.
The Armstrongs have a large, but tight network of friends who have become like family. They vetted glassware ideas and t-shirt concepts with select friends, received support from fellow brewers and others in the beer community (Al and Terry from Pizza Boy Brewing helped install their equipment!) and continue to work closely with neighbors, local purveyors and artists, all catapulting the community-supported brewery concept above and beyond its origins.
“It’s humbling — really humbling — that people are still so excited about this project when it’s taken this long,” Brandalynn shared with me before the first event.
Sure, it’s been one heck of a teaser campaign, but it’s here.
Friends, neighbors and other supporters joined this week to celebrate the couple, their long hours and hard work — properly rung in with a freshly made pint.
On Wednesday (April 8), just after noon will mark the ribbon cutting and grand opening of Zeroday Brewing Company.
Four beers will be available on tap to start, including their First Born dry Irish stout, Zeroday IPA (ep. 1), Wits End Belgian-inspired Witbier and Cheap Date, an American blonde ale. Their ginger beer (a freshly made batch!) also is on tap. Top your Wits End with a splash, nicknamed the “Midtown Mule.”
A food menu offers light fare, including their own “Hoptimus” hopped hummus, soft pretzel with mustard flight, select cheese and the “Midtown Half Pound,” hard pretzels with choice of mustard.
Zeroday Brewing Company will operate 4-11 p.m. Wednesday through Friday; Saturday noon to 11 p.m. and Sunday noon to 8 p.m.
Following Zeroday’s grand opening at 12:30 p.m. on April 8 they will open immediately to the public.