Rich Hennosy is the owner of Buckeye Lake Brewery, a new brewpub that opened in Buckeye Lake earlier this year. Buckeye Lake is located about a half-hour east of Columbus along Interstate 70.
Question: Why did you become a brewer?
Answer: I had the idea to open a brewery while researching business ideas due to employee cutbacks by my employer. During the first hour of meeting with Tom Hennessey at his brewery startup class at Colorado Boy Brewery and Pub, I knew this was what I had to do. I felt a connection to what Tom had done there and I had to bring it back to Ohio. I had planned to be the brewer when I started this venture, but I met Mike Byrne while I was interviewing assistants. I recognized his passion and knowledge of brewing and realized that we would progress faster if I turned the brewing over to him while I concentrated on all of the other aspects of running a brewpub. It was a great decision.
Q: Buckeye Lake Brewery is still new to the Ohio beer scene. What’s the biggest lesson you learned when launching your brewpub?
A: You never have enough money. Something always happens, whether it is equipment failures or growth. You are spending every dime you make hoping that someday you will have all the equipment you should have had when you opened and your processes are the most efficient so you can keep some of the money you do make.
Q: What are your goals for your brewery? (Do you want to bottle and distribute down the road, for example?)
A: We would be very happy to simply be recognized as the source for fresh beer in the Buckeye Lake region. If you have an event that calls for beer, we hope people will naturally think to come to us. Our customers will let us know what form that is, be it bottles, kegs, pint glasses or cans.
Q: What’s your best-selling beer and why do you think it’s so popular?
A: Our Irish Red is our best seller. The recipe came from Tom Hennessey at Colorado Boy Brewery and he won a bronze medal with it at the Great American Beer Festival in 2011. It is so easy to drink and full of flavor, it makes it a great choice for both the new or seasoned craft beer drinker.
Q: Which beer – any beer in the world – do you wish that you created/invented/brewed and why?
A: No question Samuel Adams. They took a brand from nothing and made one of America's great labels. That is what many of us are trying to do as brewers. Before craft beers were being sold at every grocery store and airport bar, you could usually get a Samuel Adams. It saved me from buying another 12-pack of American pilsner more than once. Of course, I always seemed to be charged for an import when ordering Samuel Adams during Happy Hour.