Kelly and Bryan Hackman are going on more than a decade of marriage, but this year marks an important anniversary. 2021 is the fifth year of the couple’s business partnership. These two New Port Richey natives grew up in the same town, went to neighboring high schools, and graduated within a year of one another, yet it wasn’t until their mid-thirties that their paths finally crossed.
Relationship, Partnership, Entrepreneurship
After getting married in 2010, the couple found various ways to support their hometown. In 2016, they took the ultimate step and opened The White Heron Tea & Gifts – an award-winning destination for upscale tea service and blends. The business took off and before long it expanded to triple the capacity. While some may have been satisfied with this success, the ambitious couple was ready for their next venture. In 2018, the Cotee River Brewing Co. came to life on Main Street. New Port Richey’s first craft beer brewery, Cotee River Brewing was instantly recognized for their creativity and skill with a slew of awards in their first year. “We spent so much time planning and building The White Heron that I decided Bryan could also have a business,” Kelly jokes, “no, but really, it’s nice because now I get some time to focus on our tea brand!”
Collaboration is Key
No doubt that humor is a key ingredient in a successful partnership, but this couple shares more than one ingredient. Identifying the intersection between tea and craft beer, Bryan and Kelly partnered on a number of flavors for the brewery. Last Valentine’s Day marked the release of their hit collaboration, the Chocolate Covered Strawberry Porter. Brewed as a regular porter, the beer takes on the unique flavors of strawberry and chocolate when it is moved to cold crash in the cooler. This is when tea from The White Heron is cold steeped in the beer. The result is a delicious and frothy, semi-sweet porter with notes of strawberry and a creamy chocolate finish. “The porter is traditionally cocoa in flavor, so it was only natural to add chocolate and strawberry flavors to bring out that cocoa-ness, making it perfect for Valentine’s Day,” explains Bryan.
This is not the first time Cotee River Brewing has teamed up with The White Heron to craft uniquely flavored beers. In fact, the Red Headed Blonde, Sarazen Wheat, and NPR Engine One all utilize tea to create their signature flavors. “We use the tea as a natural way of introducing flavors without using artificial flavorings that leave harsh aftertastes in the beer,” says Bryan.
Keeping Business in Perspective
If their first two ventures weren’t enough to stay occupied, the couple is taking on a new project together. The Coastline Salt Room will be the first of its kind in West Pasco. Located on Main Street, this facility will offer relaxing salt therapy sessions, and a space for yoga and meditation classes. With so many businesses they’re juggling, Bryan and Kelly will undoubtedly take advantage of their latest.
In anticipation of opening, the couple travelled to St. Petersburg, St. Augustine, and Knoxville to experience different salt rooms. Even on vacation, Bryan and Kelly are constantly evaluating the successful elements of downtowns and brining ideas back to NPR. When you own a tea room, a salt room and a brewery, there are lots of opportunities to mix business, travel, and pleasure.
Visit the White Heron
6228 Grand Boulevard, New Port Richey, FL
Visit Cotee River Brewing
5760 Main Street, New Port Richey, FL