Chris Verich is the co-owner and director of brewing operations at Ohio Brewing Co. The production brewery -- which also features a tasting room -- is located in the Selle Generator Works building in downtown Akron. Verich previously has run a brewery in the Youngstown area and had a brewpub in downtown Akron.
Question: Why did you become a brewer?
Answer: I fell in love with beer during a family vacation to Europe and had traditional beer the first time in Germany. While a Grad student at Kent State I took up homebrewing and realized after winning some medals I seemed to have an aptitude in it. Also after visiting some breweries and brewpubs out West I saw the potential in the craft brewing industry and felt I would really enjoy being part of that.
Q: You've run both a brewpub and a production brewery. Is it more difficult to run one or the other?
A: A brewpub, no question. A brewpub is three businesses in one (a bar, a restaurant and a brewery) so the challenges and headaches are three times as worse. If done well with plenty of working capital and top notch staff, a brewpub is a thing of beauty, but I enjoy operating a brewery since you have less to concern yourself with.
Q: With so many breweries looking to open in Ohio, what advice can you share with future brewery owners?
A: Do plenty of research, having at least twice as much working capital as you think you need and be filled with a crazy passion for brewing, not just capitalizing on a business trend.
Q: What's your best-selling beer and why do you think it's so popular?
A: Verich Gold is usually the best seller, although Cardinal Ale is very close. Verich Gold is simply a very smooth tasting, drinkable craft beer. It has flavor but still very accessible so it appeals to a wide market. Seasonally, our Jingle Bell Ale outsells all of our products during the holidays.
Q: Which beer -- any beer in the world -- do you wish you created/invented/brewed and why?
A: Westmalle Triple. It is simply a perfect beer. Great tasting, flavorfull, drinkable and still packs a punch. Just truly delicious.