Aaron Schickel has no problem with his brewery starting out small or having limited name recognition so far.
The Franklin Brewing Co., a nanobrewery located in a pole barn in Schickel’s back yard outside Elyria in Lorain County, launched in May. It’s producing two beers, a kolsch and amber pale ale, for bars and restaurants in the Cleveland area, including World of Beer in Lakewood.
“We want to be kind of small right now and as we start building, we can be that sleeper brewery that creeps out of nowhere,” Schickel said.
A homebrewer for more than a decade and a self-described “paper pusher” for a trucking company, the 39-year-old Schickel decided years ago that he wanted to try brewing professionally. He and a friend joked about opening their own brewery.
“The more I started researching it and getting into it, I was like I really like this and I could see myself doing this for the rest of my life,” he said. “I just started building it and whatever little bit of money I had I started sinking into it.”
Yes, he started building it. Schickel constructed his own 55-gallon brewing system, as opposed to buying a pre-made outfit.
For now, the brewery is a part-time effort.
Schickel admitted it’s difficult to keep up with demand with the nano system. That’s why he’s focusing on the kolsch and amber pale ale. There are three other styles waiting in the wings: a Belgian-style wit that took a bronze medal at last year’s Ohio Brew Week homebrew competition, a sweet chocolate stout and a nut brown ale.
Franklin Brewing has no tasting room. Because the brewery is at his house, Schickel said he promised Carlisle Township leaders and his fiancee that he wouldn’t offer sales directly from the brewery.
The ultimate goal, he added, is to launch a brewpub or even a chain of brewpubs. His vision includes a four-star restaurant that’s warm and inviting.
The name Franklin Brewing stems from Schickel’s admiration for Benjamin Franklin and all he accomplished in his life. Franklin (1706-1790) was a writer, inventor and politician. His image is on the Franklin Brewing logo. (Franklin also is commonly cited as saying: “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” But that’s just an urban legend.)
As for that name recognition thing, Franklin Brewing has no website right now. “We’re working on all that,” Schickel said. But there is a Facebook page where people can find out where to buy Franklin Brewing beers.
“We might be small and kind of quiet now but we’ll be getting out there,” Schickel said. “We’re stretching our fingers out and look for us at a bar near you.”
For more details about Franklin Brewing, including a list of bars and restaurants where you can get a Franklin brew, click here.