Maize Valley Market & Winery is joining the growing list of Ohio wineries with their own line of craft beer.
The winery and farm, located outside Hartville in Stark County, hopes to launch the Maize Valley Brewery with a half-barrel brewing system around Labor Day this year. There also are plans to start growing hops.
“The winery is wonderful,” owner Bill Bakan said. “We get so many wonderful people coming out. But we also hear the comment a lot, especially from the women, ‘Oh, I wish my husband would come out but he doesn’t like wine.’ ”
Beer would attract a new customer base and be another homegrown product to offer, he said. The winery, which will celebrate its ninth anniversary in March, also is excited about growing hops to use in its beer and possibly sell to other brewers.
The initial plan is to offer draft beer at a tasting room at the market, which sells now specialty foods, gifts and produce, along with wine.
There are several other winery-breweries in Ohio. Debonne Vineyards/Cellar Rats Brewery in Madison started the trend in the state in 2008. Since then, Valley Vineyards/Cellar Dweller in Morrow, Meniru Meadery & Winery in Jackson Township, Merry Family Winery/Old Mill Craft Beer in Bidwell and Nauti Vine Wine/Mucky Duck in Akron have opened.
Bakan, his wife Michelle and brother-in-law Todd Vaughan dabbled in beer-making years ago. They are homebrewing now to reacquaint themselves with the process. Bakan admitted they are still learning about brewing on a professional basis.
Expect at least three regular brews on tap, along with a seasonal beer. Bakan said he could definitely see a pumpkin beer in the fall because the farm grows pumpkins.
Vaughan, the winemaker at Maize Valley, and Michelle Bakan will handle the brewing.
Maize Valley Brewery will start out small, Vaughan said. There are no plans to bottle or can the beer, or sell outside the winery at the beginning.
As for the Maize Valley beer philosophy, Bakan said: “I’d rather drink one great beer instead of six crappy ones and that’s how we are going to approach it.”