Paul Fryman is the owner and brewer at the new Wooster Brewery in Wooster. Fryman, a Wayne County native, opened the brewery this year after stints at Great Divide Brewing, Snake River Brewery and Great Adirondack Brewing. The seven-barrel, steam production brewery and large tasting room are in a large red-brick building dating to 1899.
Question: Why did you become a brewer?
Answer: While in college, I became fascinated with all facets of the brewing industry. By the time I was a senior, I convinced myself that I could make an honest living brewing beer. My career was born.
Q: Why did you decide to open a brewery in Wooster?
A: Wooster is a great community. There is a lot going on for a small Midwestern town. Every brewery I have ever been involved with had a certain positive tie to the local community. I think Wooster fits that same mold. There is a lot of local pride in Wooster. A brewery were people can gather, meet their neighbors and be comfortable is a real cool thing. Wooster is perfect for that type of vibe and brewery.
Q: With so many breweries planning on opening in Ohio, what advice can you give future brewery owners?
A: I would say make sure the product is tasty. Don't spread yourself wide two quickly. Obviously, there are a lot of beers on the shelf right now. You have to know your audience make a choice as to what you want to accomplish. Right now in Wooster, I'm not concerned with competing with all the other excellent beers in Ohio. I concerned with making well made beers exclusive to Wooster. When I feel comfortable expanding the range of my beers, I will do that. I think you have to be focused on getting the product dialed in and then make the decision on where you want to take it.
Q: What's your best-selling beer so far and why do you think it's so popular?
A: It is hard to tell which beer is the best selling right now. We are only eight weeks old. So all the beers are selling very close to each other. With our tasting room, I find that lighter beers sell better on the weekends and darker beers sell better throughout the week. Also, a new release usually sells very well. Our newest seasonal is a traditional saison and it is flying out of the tank.
Q: Which beer -- any beer in the world -- do you with that you invented/created and why?
A: There are so many amazing beers out there! I would say I truly find Orval to be a super awesome beer. It just puts a smile on my face every time I see a bottle of it.