Since opening earlier this year, the Granville Brewing Co. has focused on bottling its three Belgian-style beers. But the small nanobrewery — operating out of a former horse barn on co-owner and brewer Ross Kirk’s property in Granville — will release some beer on draft soon as it participates in local beer festivals and starts to raise its profile in central Ohio. (Granville Brewing will be at the upcoming Grandview Digfest.)
"We’ve been very quiet about our opening as a whole," Kirk said. So far, marketing has been limited to word-of-mouth.
He and co-owner Jay Parsons figured that if they were going to make mistakes at first, they wanted to make small mistakes. And Kirk admitted that he needed time to get familiar with their Blichmann brewing system.
But now it’s time to dip a toe into kegging and "see how it goes from there," he said. "My business partner calls it our get rich super, super slow plan."
Ironically, Kirk never bottled as a homebrewer. He eschewed the time-consuming task of cleaning individual bottles and the bottling process, and opted right off the bat to keg his homebrew.
Granville Brewing, though, launched with 22-ounce bottles and no draft. So it’s no surprise that Kirk’s least favorite part of being a professional brewer is bottling, which Granville does by hand.
"There’s a big difference between homebrewing and having to brew," said Kirk, who works full time as a highway construction estimator. "I love it. I’ve never referred to it as having to brew yet. It’s a lot of fun. I have referred to having to bottle. I’m not a huge fan of bottling."
Granville Brewing makes three beers with ominous names: The Oppressor, an imperial amber; The Betrayer, a tripel; and The Reaper, a saison.
The Reaper is the best-seller so far.
"I have a lot of friends who are Bud Light and Busch Light [drinkers] and they have that and wow," Kirk said. "Then they get to the bottom of a 22-ouncer and they text me and say, ‘That was something.’ It’s an 8.4 percent beer that drinks like a 5-percenter. It’s very refreshing."
The imperial amber is a bit polarizing. People either love it or hate it, Kirk said.
The beers are available in limited locations around Granville, Newark and Columbus.
"Everybody seems to like the beer," Kirk said. "We’re getting some positive reviews. We’re selling so much beer in the county we can hardly get out of the county. Which is great."
Anyone who visits Granville Brewing — if you’re able to find it, because there’s no sign and it looks like a regular house in the country — will notice a striking resemblance to Rockmill Brewery in Lancaster.
Both are in bucolic settings and in former horse barns. Both opened as small-batch nanobreweries. And both make only Belgian-style ales.
Granville Brewing isn’t open for regular tastings and tours right now.
Kirk and Parsons have talked about opening a tasting room in a family recreation room next to the brewery. But that comes with complications. The brewery is just a few steps from the Kirk family home. Would you want beer drinkers stomping around your family? And there isn’t much room for parking, either.
They’ve discussed opening the tasting room on a single Saturday a month and making the day an event with a food truck and special beers available.
Kirk said he's happy with slow growth. "We're in it for the right reasons," he said. "We've pulled batches that we wouldn't sell. They weren't bad but they didn't taste like what we thought. And we're in a position where we can do that. I hope people see we're doing it the right way. I think people will respond to that when we throw open the doors."