Pathlight Brewing coming soon to 75th and Nieman in Shawnee

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Local home brewers David Harris and Tanner Vaughn have turned their friendship and love of craft beer into a new microbrewery. Pathlight Brewing is under construction at 75th and Nieman in Shawnee and is expected to open in late spring.

Located at 11200 W. 75th St. Shawnee, the new microbrewery is the former site of Close Quarters and Johnny C’s Pizza.

“It’s been a passion product,” Vaughn said. “We’ve both been brewing on our own. I’ve been doing it for over a decade, brewing in college a little bit too. I think I went to a level that is not your average home brewer.”

The co-founders agree that their skill sets are complementary. Harris, who lives in Mission, is leading the business side while Vaughn, who lives in Kansas City, Kansas, is handling the brewing from his science-based perspective (he has an engineering background).

“After knowing Tanner as a friend and then getting a chance to see what he was doing with beer and where his skill set was and what he could offer, it was like really clear that OK, he’s onto something special,” Harris said. “What I do brings something special. You put the two together, you’ve got a winning combo. Let’s make a go at this.”

Harris and Vaughn are hoping to build a gathering space for the community with a warm, open atmosphere that’s “conducive to conversation,” Harris said. Their menu will initially include india pale ales, lagers, malts and, eventually, tart saisons. At capacity, the microbrewery will likely have more than 100 barrels.

“We brew all over the map,” Vaughn said.

Their long-term craft brewing project involves a buildout of puncheons (double-sized wine barrels) to be used exclusively for their “wild” selection, which takes “months if not years” of cultivating yeast strains and mixing cultures to acquire the right tastes, Harris said.

“What he does is going to have a lot more depth of flavor,” Harris said of Vaughn’s wild craft beers. “Similar to a fine wine, where the more you sip it, you’re going to get more notes, more depth, more character, more richness, as opposed to a sour.”

Harris said the location was a good fit, not only because of the space itself, but because Shawnee city leaders and staff have welcomed them into the community.

“Immediately, day one, the planning commission, the economic development committee, the city council, all engaged in a unified voice in trying to convince us that Shawnee was a great place to be,” Harris said. “They were warm and welcoming, they talked to us about ideas that we didn’t even have.

“It totally told us from day one that they were willing to work with us and do what it took to make this a great place to do business. Candidly, not every municipality is that welcoming, so it made a big difference for us.”

About the author

Leah Wankum
Leah Wankum

Hi there! I’m Leah Wankum, and I’m the Post’s Deputy Editor. I’m thrilled to call Johnson County home, and I’m deeply committed to the Post’s philosophy that an informed community is a strong community.

I’m a native of mid-Missouri, and attended high school in Jefferson City before going on to the University of Central Missouri, where I earned a master’s degree in mass communication.

Prior to joining the Post as a reporter in 2018, I was the editor of the Richmond News in Ray County, Missouri. I’ve also written for several publications, including the Sedalia Democrat and KC Magazine.