They've known each other since childhood.
Their families own cottages near each other in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. They both enjoy sailing. One even married the other's sister, making them brothers-in-law.
Oh, and they share of a passion for beer.
It seems destiny that Ohio natives Whit Hesser and Blake Horsburgh would open a brewery together. They, along with partner Bobby Slattery, hope to launch a small production brewery and tasting room this summer in the Cincinnati suburb of Mariemont. They’re still working on a name.
Their goal is a simple one.
"We hope to be the brewpub down the road that used to exist 100 years ago before Prohibition," the 24-year-old Horsburgh said. "That's what we're trying to strive for, that down-the-street, community beer joint feel."
While attending Ohio University and getting his degree in philosophy, Horsburgh trained with Jackie O's Pub & Brewery brewer Brad Clark, who's known for being innovative. ("I think therefore I brew," Horsburgh said jokingly about how his philosophy degree comes into play when brewing.)
Since then, he has attended the Siebel Institute of Technology in Chicago and worked at Rivertown Brewing Co. in Lockland.
“Blake was thinking and brewing, and I was down in Nashville in manufacturing honing my engineering skills," said Hesser, 29, an engineer.
He also was learning about the beer industry from Linus Hall, the brewer and founder of the Yazoo Brewing Co.
Hall had a unique ability to connect with his beer fans and make them feel like they are part of the brewing process, Hesser said.
Hesser's goal was to launch a brewery in Nashville but plans fell through. That's when he moved back to Cincinnati and hooked up again with Horsburgh and Slattery, 30. The plan is to open the brewery with a 10-barrel Century brewhouse in a building that once housed the Heritage Restaurant on Wooster Pike.
They will distribute their beer on draft in Cincinnati, and their tasting room will be open Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The plan is to have four to eight house beers.
They also would like to offer tours and educational, beer-related events. The brewery won't have a kitchen but they hope to offer barbecue on the weekends -- whether it's them smoking their own meat or outsourcing the food service.
Hesser and Horsburgh also run the blog Brewing with Friends (http://brewingwithfriends.blogspot.com/) where people can keep up to date with their effort.
"Our biggest thing is education," Horsburgh said.
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