A new Butler County business aims to offer a craft-beer selection unrivaled at the region’s restaurants and bars.
Brian Brownlow and Caleb Colbert on March 6 opened BC’s Bottle Lodge, a craft-beer bottle shop and lounge at 7121 Liberty Centre Drive, just south of Ohio 129’s Cincinnati-Dayton Road exit and down the road from Liberty Center.
Colbert, 28, previously worked at a beer store in Mason, where he met and became friends with Brownlow, 37, a customer at the business.
Both men love craft beer and last September, after Brownlow’s department was eliminated at an area mortgage lender, they took the leap as an “if-not-know-then-when” opportunity.
“I was tired of chasing dollars and … wanted to do something I could be passionate about,” Brownlow said. “Having that business background and being really passionate about craft beer, it was kind of like, you know what, we’ve talked about it over craft beers … what’s stopping us from doing it?”
BC Bottle Lodge’s 2,000-square-foot space features 1,400 square feet dedicated to retail and 24 brews on tap. The selection ranges from lighter styles, including a few wheats and a fruit beer, plus some Imperial and Single IPAs and several different stouts and one-off beers, Colbert said.
About six of the selections are local favorites with a few others reserved for local seasonal recipes. Approximately another third of the taps pour beers created within a 150-mile radius.
Their passion for craft beer surfaced long before their were scores of breweries in the Cincinnati area, Colbert said.
“It’s just we noticed the area that we’re in is under-served as far as the craft industry is concerned, which is kind of why we chose this area,” Colbert said. “We wanted to bring something unique that also has … our kind of hands on it.”
The business uses one-sixth barrel kegs, which contain 42 pints per barrel, half the amount available in a half barrel, Colbert said.
“It’s fewer ounces of beer, which creates more of a rotation, as opposed to a half barrel where you could be sitting on a half barrel for weeks on end,” he said. “It just provides a fresher product and a greater variety and it definitely creates a vibe of ‘If you don’t get in here when it’s tapped, you may not get it.’”
Beer is available per glass from $4 to $10. To-go options of growlers (64 ounces) and howlers (32 ounces), also are available.
BC’s Bottle Lodge also offers bottled beer and wine for retail sale and has room for nearly 60 people inside and about 40 more on a planned outdoor patio.
Colbert said he’s accrued “several different experiences within the beer industry,” ranging from observing his father’s own homebrewing for several years to taking a Brew 100 class at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College.
While Colbert’s also enrolled in a course dealing with the beer industry, Brownlow already had taken interdisciplinary studies with a focus on business at Miami University and owned and operated several different businesses thereafter.
“He’s kind of the business mind behind it and I’m more of the beer side of it,” Colbert said.
“Although I’m quickly catching up with his beer knowledge,” Brownlow said, and laughed.