Jason Roeper, founder of The Rivertown Brewing Co., told this news outlet why his Cincinnati craft brewing business needs to expand. A new brewery to be built in Monroe will house most production but Lockland facilities won't close.CHELSEY LEVINGSTON

Rivertown Brewing Co. to build new brewery in Monroe

Started in 2009, the brewer known for its sour beers has outgrown its existing space in Lockland faster than anticipated, Roeper said.

Construction could start next spring at the proposed site, located near the intersection of Salzman Road and Ohio 63 in Butler County. Plans are to build a 31,600-square-foot facility with production, restaurant and bar space, he said.

Rivertown Brewing expects to be fully operational in Monroe in 2017, he said.

“Our business continues to grow 27 percent a year,” he said. “We can’t continue to stay here, it’s going to landlock ourselves.”

Rivertown started at Lockland with just shy of 2,000-square-feet of space, but as business grew, it knocked down walls to fill about 20,000-square-feet today. Also, when business started, it was before state law allowed production and tastings in one place and the Lockland location was chosen for being off the beaten path and for cheaper rent, Roeper said.

When looking for a new location, he was eyeing land with highway proximity for easy customer access.

Monroe’s location was also attractive because of the access to quality, award-winning water, room to grow, and it’s an opportunity to build the brewery from the ground up designed for making beer, instead of trying to make the industrial space where the company is located now fit Rivertown’s needs, he added.

But part of what prompted Rivertown to begin thinking about new space in the first place was when The Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati considered surcharges for wastewater for Cincinnati-area breweries, he said. Even though it hasn’t come to fruition, it is a concern for the future, he said.

“We’re making a huge investment,” he said. “We’re calling it our forever brewery.”

The Lockland facility and Barrel House restaurant and sampling room will not close, Roeper said. At the leased space, Rivertown, which has about 30 employees, will continue to serve beer samples and run test batches, he said.

Current production is about 15,000 barrels of beer a year, and about 207,000 case equivalences a year, Roeper said. The expansion will increase capacity to up to 150,000 barrels a year or 2.1 million cases, he said.

Rivertown beers are distributed in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee, Massachusetts, Florida and the Virgin Islands. Customers can buy products too at any local Kroger store, Jungle Jim’s International Market, Belmont Party Supply and Dorothy Lane Market, he said. Drinkers can also buy a draft at local restaurants that carry it on tap.

Before the project proceeds, Rivertown will need to obtain approval to transfer or get a new liquor license at the site, according to Ohio Division of Liquor Control.

Monroe City Council will consider tax and financial incentives for Rivertown at one of their December meetings. In the meantime, staff is going to be working with the developer on the site plan and building design, according to the city. The correct zoning is already in place for the property, city officials say.

“They’ve become very successful in a relatively short time through their determination and the quality of their products, and we look forward to supporting their continued growth,” said City Manager Bill Brock. “In addition to creating new jobs and representing an investment in the city, the new Rivertown facility also gives residents and visitors another entertainment option and creates additional interest in Monroe that all of our companies can benefit from.”

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