Andy Phlipot is the co-owner of the Wooden Shoe Brewing Co. in Minster in west central Ohio. The small production brewery has a history dating back to 1869. It grew into a major regional operation but then was shut down in the 1950s. Phlipot and his business partners brought back the Wooden Shoe brand -- at first having the beer made on contract -- and then they opened their production brewery in 2010.
Question: Why did you decide to open a brewery?
Answer: Wooden Shoe Brewery, in Minster has a long historical presence dating back to 1869. Through its rise and fall through 1954, Wooden Shoe had become a significant part of our community. Over those years, my father Gene Phlipot had become an avid collector of memorabilia of the since closed brewery and as years passed I became interested in the history and collection as well. We had embarked in 2005 to re-introduce the long lost brand and the familiar presence the brewery provided to our community. As many dreams start, this one definitely had become a very heart felt opportunity. In 2010, we had accomplished goal one, "The Build." The brewery now resides in a small facility with ample room for growth and as with many long-standing traditions, we are back to brewing and bottling our products in Minster. Over the years we have become a particular fit into Minster’s Oktoberfest, which has continually run for 36 years. As time moves forward, we hope to see many pass through our brewery and find a small piece of history leave with them.
Q: What sets Wooden Shoe Brewing apart in the crowded beer industry?
A: We are not sure of what sets us apart, but we want to maintain our "Class not mass" operation where patrons, family and friends can stop enjoy our beers, reminisce of the history and particularly enjoy a beer that truly is craft brewed by our team who have now became the heart and soul of this brewery.
Q: What are the best and worst aspects of running a small brewery?
A: The Worst. Like many new ventures the hard work and long hours of commitment to start a legacy is tough. The Best. Every day it's one day closer to success and making our work and efforts more in tune with our progress. Our presence has become valued to the industry and dedicated to the growing families of connoisseurs of craft breweries.
Q: What's your favorite beer that Wooden Shoe brews and why?
A: Wooden Shoe Lager, the historical presence to our brand and the fact "lager" is not as common of a style among craft brewers. The fermentation process requires longer storage and cold conditions providing a very clean smooth lager beer.
Q: Which beer - any beer in the world - do you wish that you created/invented/brewed and why?
A: One of my favorite beers is Weihenstephaner Hefe Weissbier. I believe any craft brewery would love the historical value of being the "oldest brewery in the world," dating back nearly 1,000 years and being formulated by some of the best brewmasters ever, monks.