Butler County breweries adjusting amid coronavirus as one plans anniversary party

FigLeaf Brewing Co. is celebrating its four anniversary with a party from noon to 10 p.m. Saturday. FILE PHOTO

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FigLeaf Brewing Co. is celebrating its four anniversary with a party from noon to 10 p.m. Saturday. FILE PHOTO

BUTLER COUNTY — The coronavirus certainly hasn’t stopped the buzz created by the brewery business.

At the end of last year there were 330 beer breweries in Ohio, according to the Ohio Craft Beer Association. That number has jumped to 350 this year, including 41 in Southwest Ohio and 10 in Butler County.

Justin Hemminger, deputy director of the state beer association, said it typically takes two years of planning to open a brewery. So when the coronavirus started earlier this year, the brewery owners couldn’t stop the process because of their financial commitment.

“It was bad timing,” he said of the coronavirus. “But you can’t continue to put things on hold.”

One of those Butler County breweries, FigLeaf Brewing, 3387 Cincinnati-Dayton Road, will celebrate its fourth anniversary with a party from noon to 10 p.m. Saturday.

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The brewery will offer nine variants of beers, including Carrot Cake Basmati Cream Ale, French Toast Steel Cut Oatmeal Stout, Cookie Dough Ponderous Porter, and Black Cherry Sous La Table Belgian Tripel. In addition, FigLeaf will be releasing Acer Brunus, a maple wood aged brown ale that is making its return from its release in 2017.

FigLeaf will have live music all day and its patios will be open and available for maximum social distancing, said Josh Engel, marketing manager.

“It’s been one rollercoaster of a year for all of us,” Engel said.

FigLeaf distributes throughout 18 counties in southwest Ohio and the Miami Valley and six counties in Kentucky.

Last year, FigLeaf was acquired by March First Manufacturing, the Sycamore Twp.-based parent company of March First Brewing and Sycamore Distilling, creator of Sycamore Whiskeys, Voltage Vodkas and Cooper Island Rums.

March First Brewing touts itself as “Cincinnati’s only brewery, cidery and distillery.” It specializes in craft beer, cider and spirits, and brews, distill and bottles in Cincinnati. Founded in March 2016 in Sycamore Twp., its names pays homage to the founding of state of Ohio on March 1, 1803.

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Another Butler County brewery, N.E.W. Ales Brewing opened at 1521 First Ave., Middletown, at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. When the virus hit and shut down most businesses, Wes Heupel, one of the owners, said that allowed them time to remodel the business and add patio seating.

Now, as cold weather approaches, Heupel said the business will shift from on-site sales to more bottle distribution.

“Winter will be a little rougher,” he said.

Heupel isn’t surprised by the number of new breweries.

“People love craft beer,” he said. “They like tasting new stuff.”

The most popular beer this fall at N.E.W. Ales has overwhelmingly been OMG Becky Look at that Pumpkin. Really, pumpkin beer?

“The sky is the limit,” he said.

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FigLeaf Brewing Co. opened at 3387 Cincinnati-Dayton Road in Middletown in October 2016. It’s celebrating its fourth anniversary with a party Saturday. FILE PHOTO

FigLeaf Brewing Co. opened at 3387 Cincinnati-Dayton Road in Middletown in October 2016. It’s celebrating its fourth anniversary with a party Saturday. FILE PHOTO

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FigLeaf Brewing Co. opened at 3387 Cincinnati-Dayton Road in Middletown in October 2016. It’s celebrating its fourth anniversary with a party Saturday. FILE PHOTO

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FigLeaf Brewing Co.’s Barrel Aged Black Solstice Imperial Stout. CONTRIBUTED

FigLeaf Brewing Co.’s Barrel Aged Black Solstice Imperial Stout. CONTRIBUTED

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FigLeaf Brewing Co.’s Barrel Aged Black Solstice Imperial Stout. CONTRIBUTED


BUTLER COUNTY BREWERIES

  • Books & Brews Oxford, 107 E. Church St., Oxford, 513-255-9281
  • DogBerry Brewing, 9964 Crescent Park Drive, West Chester Twp., 513-847-8208
  • FigLeaf Brewing Company, 3387 Cincinnati-Dayton Road, Middletown, 513-300-0275
  • Fretboard Brewing & Public House, 103 Main St, Hamilton, 513-737-1111
  • Grainworks Brewing Company, 7790 Service Center Drive, West Chester, 513-480-2337
  • Municipal Brew Works, 20 High St. Hamilton, 513-642-2424
  • N.E.W. Ales Brewing, 1521 First Ave., Middletown, 937-823-9716
  • Rivertown Brewing Co./Rivertown Brewery & Barrel House, 6550 Hamilton Lebanon Road, Monroe, 513-360-7839
  • Rolling Mill Brewing Company, 916 1st Ave., Middletown, 513-217-4444
  • Swine City Brewery, 4614 Industry Drive, Fairfield, 513-201-7070

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