Bob Weber is owner of the Little Mountain Brewing Co. in Kirtland in Northeast Ohio. It's one of the few brew-on-premise breweries in Ohio. Opened in 2010, Little Mountain allows people to come in and brew beer alongside a professional brewer and then take that beer home with them. Weber also brews his own for retail sale and has a small bar at the brewery.
Question: Why did you become a brewer?
Answer: I guess the short answer is because I wanted to start a business of my own, and, when the chance arose, the Brew on Premises business was the best fit for me. I get to use my experience as a homebrewer, my training in manufacturing and engineering, my creative side, and, last but not least, I get to meet, teach and entertain a lot of really great people over a beer. Why the heck not?
Q: In your relatively short time as a brewery owner, what have you learned about the brewing industry that you didn’t know before?
A: That would have to be a new appreciation for just how much beer the public consumes, and how difficult it would be to scale up an operation to meet the demand of selling regionally, or even nationally. We run multiple kettles six days a week, and no matter how much we make, it always seems like we could use more. I really didn’t expect the demand for good local beer products to be so great … but I’m glad it is.
Q: What are your goals for your brewery? (In other words, do you want to be the next Samuel Adams or Sierra Nevada?)
A: Sam Adams and Sierra Nevada are safe … brewing beer on that scale sounds too much like work. Our goals are to stay local, and to keep a focus on teaching, offering tastings, and offering the best venue for the general public to enjoy the brewing experience. We have done some bottle sales and distribute kegs to a handful of bars in three counties, but I don’t see that becoming a major focus. Hopefully, we’ll expand a little, but that will be largely to offer some more seating for our brewers and tasting room customers, and to improve our food and entertainment aspects.
Q: What’s the best-selling beer you make and why do you think it’s the favorite?
A: Right now, our Rampant Lion Scottish Ale is the king. It’s big at 7 percent ABV, but sweet, malty and it has a nice bitterness that comes from a combination of roasted barley and Goldings. It seems to appeal to a really wide demographic. That will probably change when the weather warms … seems we have a new “fave” every six weeks or so.
Q: Which beer – any beer in the world – do you wish that you created/invented/brewed and why?
A: I’d have to say Flying Dog’s Raging Bitch. Not only is the beer superbly balanced with just the right malt character, nice bitterness, and a great finish of flavor and aroma hops, but it has a great name and an entertaining label. Home run!