Butler County has continued to mirror Ohio with growth in an area that is boosting its economic impact throughout the state: The beer industry.
While 2016 saw the openings of Municipal Brew Works in Hamilton and FigLeaf Brewing in Middletown, 2017 was even bigger with six new beer-related businesses opening this year and one relocating to a larger space. Four others are on the way in 2018.
In 2011, the state was home to 32 craft breweries. Now there are at least 245.
Butler County, which had two breweries in 2014, now has eight with more on the way in 2018.
The economic impact of Ohio breweries is clear: Last year, industry growth contributed more than $13.2 billion to Ohio’s economy, up from $11 billion in 2015.
Tony Meyer, a co-founder of DogBerry Brewing, which moved into a new space in West Chester Twp. this year, said the business located and then expanded there because “the demographics are right,” with customers streaming in from Liberty Twp., Mason and Deerfield Twp.
“Folks have the income to play with to spend on a luxury item, such as craft beer,” Meyer previously told the Journal-News.
There has been plenty of movement in the area beer industry:
January: Rivertown Brewery & Barrel House
A familiar name on the local brewing scene kicked off 2017 with the January opening of its new $6 million facility in Monroe. Rivertown Brewery & Barrel House’s new building is twice the size of its Lockland location, which remains open.
The taproom boasts a 30-tap lineup including 20 Rivertown beers and 10 offerings from other area breweries. The taproom also will serve other local libations, including wine from Ohio wineries. The restaurant’s menu features a mix of classic barbecue recipes and styles with some modern twists.
Rivertown produced approximately 1,200 barrels of beer in 2009, its first year of production, boosting that to 15,000 barrels of beer a year by 2016. Nearly 30,000 barrels were projected to be produced this year in Monroe.
May: DogBerry Brewing
DogBerry Brewing, which opened on Cincinnati-Dayton Road in West Chester Twp. in January 2015, expanded in May 2017 to a new, larger location, DB2, at 9964 Crescent Park Drive.
At 4,740 square feet, the new location is double the size of the original, offers 20 taps instead of 10, and has 72 parking spaces instead of nine.
The larger taproom features the same family-friendly vibe as the original location — with seating for 150 on both picnic tables and stools, air hockey and Skee-ball.
June: The Casual Pint (Mason)
The Casual Pint, a pub, tap room and retail seller of craft beers, opened June 2 at 6360 Tylersville Road in Mason, just two miles east of the border of Butler and Warren counties.
Craft beer from throughout Ohio and the Midwest is poured from 32 different beer taps, with 75 other tap handles ready to replace them once a brew runs out, which allows the business to switch things up for the sake of variety.
August: North Second Tap & Bottle Shop
The new craft beer taproom opened in late August at 134 N. 2nd St. in Hamilton, offering 10 taps of craft beer on a rotating basis. But that’s not all the new business offers. Four taps of wine, two serving up red wines and two serving white wines, offer options for those wishing to steer clear of beer.
September: 16 Lots Brewing Company
16 Lots Brewing Company opened at 753 Reading Rd. in Mason on Sept. 15. It offers a 10-barrel brewing system that produces its flagship and seasonal offerings all year and Founded by marketing executive Mike Burton and home brewer Jeff Cosgrove, whose primary career was in the paper industry, 16 Lots’ includes in-house restaurant Mad Monks Pizza Co., which dishes out New York style pizza.
There’s ample space inside for a large crowd via 140 seats and an additional 72 seats outside.
September: Grainworks Brewing Company
Grainworks Brewing Company opened in September at 7790 Service Center Dr. in West Chester Twp., occupying about 5,000 square feet in a 10,900-square-foot building with the possibility of further expansion.
Located just off Cox Road near Voice of America MetroPark, amenities for the child-friendly business include a tap room, brewery tours, beer to go, outdoor seating and live music.
The 10-barrel brewhouse includes six 20-barrel fermenters, which are able to generate “a pretty good amount of beer,” said co-founder Steven Brock.
Grainworks’ opening was slated to feature six beers, including an IPA, Stout and Porter, then move on to “a pretty eclectic mix” of brews, including a sour beer and a saison.
December: Rolling Mill Brewing Company
Middletown’s second brewery is also Butler County’s latest. Rolling Mill Brewing Company opened Dec. 15 at 916 1st Ave., in a 5,648-square-foot commercial warehouse in the Historic South Main District.
It produces and distributes a variation of beers year-round, including a variety of European and American lagers/ales, plus seasonal specials. The brews are completely gluten free, being produced in absence of wheat, barley and rye while still using traditional brewing techniques.
On the way: Quarter Barrel Brewery and Pub
Quarter Barrel Brewery & Pub in Oxford is bringing a second location of the brew pub to a three-story building on the corner of Main and B streets in Hamilton this January.
It will offer rooftop dining overlooking the Great Miami River and Hamilton’s downtown at a prime location in the growing Main Street entertainment district.
On the way: Swine City Brewing
Swine City Brewing is renovating a 5,000-square-foot building at 4614 Industry Dr. in Fairfield to include a large, indoor tasting room and a 1.6-acre outdoor area with a 2,600-square-foot patio. The new brewery also will have four 10-barrel tanks, one 15-barrel tank and three seven-barrel wine fermenters.
On the way: Sonder Brewing
Sonder Brewing is scheduled to open this spring on 6.5 acres at 8460 Duke Blvd. in Deerfield Twp. Outdoor facilities for the new 16,000-square-foot business will feature two patios, a fire pit and a space for volleyball, bocce ball or a variety of other outdoor activities for both small and large parties
On the way: The Casual Pint (Hamilton)
Craft beer market The Casual Pint has signed a lease to open a location on the first floor of The Marcum Apartments in downtown Hamilton. It’s expected to open in July with 30 beers on tap and hundreds more on carry-out shelves, along with a variety of wines and a limited food menu.