Moeller Brew Barn celebrated its one-year anniversary in Monroe with extended happy hours, live music and an anniversary beer release over the weekend.
Then Monday, the brewery announced on its Facebook page that it made the “difficult decision” to close its taproom immediately.
“Unfortunately our sales revenue was not adequate to maintain operations,” the post read. “While our time here was short, it was an adventurous ride shared with our staff and our guests.”
Three other Moeller Brew Barn locations — Dayton, Troy and Maria Stein — will remain open, according to the post.
Nick Moeller, founder of the brew barn, told the Journal-News that the distribution and taproom sales never “met expected performances.”
He said “a lot of factors” went into the struggles in Monroe. He said when it came to customer service the brew barn “stubbed our toe on some days;” the location off Ohio 63 is “off the beaten path” and the cost of operating the 25,875 square-foot-square-foot facility was too much to overcome.
Last year, Moeller said the Monroe location allowed Moeller Brew Barn, founded in 2015, to expand the brand’s taproom and distribution presence to the Cincinnati region.
While the taproom is closed, he said beer will be brewed on-site for the next three to four weeks. Monroe was the first Moeller location to close, he said.
The Monroe location, 6550 Hamilton Lebanon Road, opened on Sept. 14, 2022 in the space previously occupied by Rivertown Brewery & Barrel House that closed in February 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, staffing issues and rising food costs.
Monroe City Council had voted to lease for free several items, including three LeSourdsville Skyride chairs, original park signage and several vintage photographs, to Moeller Brew Barn.
“We regret that the taproom has closed, and we are hopeful that the Moeller employees will find new opportunities quickly,” said Jennifer Patterson, assistant to the city manager/economic development for the city of Monroe. “The city will be working with the brewery to determine next steps for the production lines at the site.”
Besides a wide variety of craft beers, the brewery offered handcrafted pizzas, smoked wings, Bavarian pretzels, and location-specific, Cincy Dip, a spin on Cincinnati chili, served in a cast-iron skillet with tortilla chips.
Rivertown, a $6 million facility, opened Jan. 20, 2017 and saw early success because of its location near a highly traveled roadway and being close to Cincinnati Premium Outlets, Miami Valley Gaming and two popular flea markets, Traders World and Treasure Aisles.
In August 2020, City Council revoked a tax abatement for Rivertown Brewery Company that was granted in May 2016.
A notice of default letter was sent March 9, 2020 by City Manager Bill Brock that said Rivertown owed $72,370 in unpaid taxes and payments not made as part of a plan for previous lapses in payment. On May 8, 2020 Monroe filed a second tax lien against the property.
Rivertown’s CRA agreement was for a 45% abatement on the annual property tax for five years and for job creation. Rivertown was to have created 55 full-time and 10 part-time jobs by Dec. 31, 2019.