Jackie O's Pub & Brewery in Athens has a well-deserved reputation for pumping out some of the tastiest and most unusual beers in Ohio. (Remember Hogwash, the brew that smelled and tasted like breakfast sausage?) That's why a comment today by brewer Brad Clark seems so inconceivable. With Jackie O's opening a separate production brewery this summer, the brewpub system will be used to make even a wider range of styles and be devoted to even more experiments, Clark says. He already envisions saisons, German sours and some lagers.
Clark will oversee the production brewery and hand over the keys to the brewpub to a new brewer. (That brewer has been hired but Clark declined the identify him.) "He'll have the ability to experiment even more than I have because I'll be pulling the higher volume beers out the brewpub operation," Clark says. "He will have more creative license."
The production brewery is located about two miles from the brewpub but still in the city of Athens. Jackie O's is installing a 20-barrel Newlands System with 40-barrel fermenters -- a massive jump in capacity from the seven-barrel brewpub system. "We needed to go bigger," Clark says. The goal is to open the brewery in June and start distributing draft beer in central Ohio in July. Depending on the response, the brewery would later move into southeastern, southwestern and then northern Ohio. Jackie O's also would like to start bottling or canning its beer year-round, but that would likely happen about a year after opening the new brewery, Clark says. He adds that they are seriously considering canning -- something not done by any craft brewers in Ohio now. "It's a formidable option that needs to be considered and looked into," he says. "By no means would we rule it out."
In other Jackie O's news, the brewery also is starting to produce its own honey and plans to release its beer in bottles four times this year. The first bottle release -- expect Kentucky Monk, Vanilla Bean Rum Barrel Dark Apparition and "other barrel-aged goodies" -- is set for late March.