Stay-at-home dads to open brewery in West Chester

Two stay-at-home fathers are hoping to tap into the popularity of craft beers this fall by opening DogBerry Brewing at 7865 Cincinnati-Dayton Road.

“This is something we love doing,” said Tony Meyer of Liberty Twp. “I’ve been brewing for about 16 years and it’s something that’s been a hobby of mine for close to 20 years, and Chris, as well. We were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to be stay-at-home dads so we saw an opportunity along with that to take a shot at chasing a dream.”

Meyer, 39, and co-owner Chris Frede, 36, two former research scientists, will offer 10 craft beers on tap, five of which will be year-round brews: a rye pale ale, India Pale Ale, Kolsch, brown ale and blonde ale. The other five beers on tap will be seasonal brews.

Customers will get to enjoy those locally-produced brews inside the nano-brewery’s 2,400-square-foot taproom, which the two friends modeled after popular breweries in the Pacific Northwest, especially Seattle.

“The appeal (of a nano brewery) for us is we can control every aspect of the business, of the operation,” Meyer said. “There will be just two of us that handle all of it. If there is any distribution, it will be very small and local.”

Even at their biggest, the brewery doesn’t plan to come anywhere near the scale of Greater Cincinnati breweries that bottle their product en masse for sale around the region and beyond, Meyer said.

“We’re going to start small and stay small,” he said. “By staying small, we can always maintain the quality of the product because we will have our hands on every bit of it.”

Staying small not only will allow Frede and Meyer to experiment with different brews, but it also will allow them the leeway to maintain their roles as fathers and coaches.

“We want to be more married to our families than to our business,” Meyer said.

DogBerry got its name by blending the name of the streets on which both men live. However, it also coincidentally is a Shakespearean character described by Meyer as “a goofy nightwatchman” who enjoys an occasional drink.

The business has a one-year lease with an option for the second and third years, he said. Opening small with about a $40,000 investment means not having to rely on outside investors.

DogBerry Brewing will use a one-barrel brewing system and eight two-barrel fermenters, giving the business the capability of doing a double batch for year-round beers. Each barrel produces 31 gallons of beer. Meyer said the business hopes to makes about 220 barrels in the first year.

Nearly 40 guests will be able to sit at the bar, regular tables and high-top tables. Another bar will serve as overflow space, as well as a merchandising counter.

Because a brewing rig is mobile, Frede and Meyer will be able to take it outside and create beer in front of the business.

Beer will cost between $4 and $7 per serving, depending on the style. Samplers will be provided. Growlers will range between $14 and $20.

Kegs eventually will be made available for purchase, Meyer said.

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