Northwest Ohio is getting another nanobrewery. Flatrock Brewing Co. hopes to open this summer in Holgate, a small farming community about 45 minutes southwest from Toledo.
“We would like people to know that we are a grassroots brewery and our ultimate goal is to employ a large local workforce and, of course, make world-class beer,” owner and brewer Lawrence Pritchard III said.
The brewing system is small – one barrel at a time -- and Pritchard and brewery assistant Tim Yoder will hand bottle in both 12-ounce and 22-ounce bottles. The brewery also will offer draft, have a tasting room so people can visit and sample its beers, and serve as a homebrew store for local homebrewers.
Flatrock already has its building in downtown Holgate and its equipment is in place just waiting for the final federal approval before starting to brew. The Flatrock names stems from Pritchard originally thinking about starting the brewery in a barn on his property in Flatrock Township.
The plan is to serve the Holgate community to start and then expand to the Toledo, Lima, Columbus and Fort Wayne, Ind., markets.
While the brewery has the support of the local homebrew club, Pritchard knows that Northwest Ohio is still pretty much Budweiser and Coors territory. So Flatrock will focus on some lighter beers that can help people graduate from national brands, he said.
“Anything that is too dark or too rich is going to turn off people,” Pritchard said. “We’re definitely going to have a German influence.”
That means dunkels and dortmunders. But he added that they also will experiment with Belgian-style ales and heavier beers, such as a bourbon barrel stout.
The initial beer list includes: Towpath Kolsch Style Ale, Hopgoblin Pale Ale, Flatrock Altbier, Pritchard Lane Belgian Style Wheat Ale and Poltergeist Belgian Style Dark Ale.
Pagan Bourbon Barrel Stout and Burn Barrel Smoked Rye Ale are planned for a fall release.
Pritchard, who has been homebrewing for about 10 years, and his wife own a home health care agency in Napoleon.
“I’d rather be brewing beer,” he said laughing, when asked about the home health care business. “The state of Ohio got hit hard with the economy but there’s no reason why we can’t open a brewery and make a product that we can be proud of and bring something back to our community here.”