Ohio Brewing Co. is making beer in Akron again.
The former downtown brewpub closed last year after struggling, but has re-formed as a new production brewery called Chris' Akron Brewing Co.
The brewery, now located in the historic Selle Generator Works building on South High Street downtown, is making the full line of Ohio Brewing beers, including favorites Verich Gold and Cardinal Ale.
''We had more and more demand for our product off-premise so we really needed a production brewery,'' said Chris Verich, owner and manager of brewing operations. ''I also wanted to concentrate on being just a microbrewery since that was the most successful part of our operation previously.''
The brewery — which no longer serves food and isn't open to the general public — is producing only draft beer right now. Verich has contracted with Elevator Brewing Co. in Columbus to bottle the beer so it's also available in bottles in area grocery stores and other retail businesses.
He would like to bring the bottling operation to Akron next year. A long-term goal, as he grows the brand throughout Northeast Ohio, is to add a tap room so people can sample the beer at the brewery.
Verich, who also serves as vice president of the Ohio Craft Brewers Association, said it's a special feeling to see his beer in bottles. The former brewpub didn't bottle.
''It's almost like you're a real brewery now,'' he said. ''Now we've fully hit the market and
people can enjoy our products in the comfort of their home.''
Beer drinker Jerry Michael of Springfield Township said he's glad to see the operation running again and praised the ''never say die'' attitude.
''These guys are in the middle of a recession firing back up something that closed down on them,'' he said. ''It strikes me as the ultimate in American attitude.''
He added that he likes Ohio Brewing beer. ''They've got some good stuff coming out of there.''
Verich said he's especially proud that the Verich Gold won the People's Choice Award at the Cleveland Oktoberfest this year.
''Akron has had a little resurgence, a little renaissance in brewing lately and we're happy to be part of it,'' he said. The other local breweries are Thirsty Dog Brewing and Hoppin' Frog Brewery.
In addition to the Verich Gold and Cardinal Ale, the regular Ohio Brewing lineup features O'Hoppy Ale, Alt-ernative Amber and Steel Valley Stout. The brewery also makes many seasonal beers, including Ohio Fest and Jingle Bell Ale.
''I want people to have choices,'' he said. ''I usually liken it to you go to an Italian restaurant and they don't have just one pasta. Just ravioli. There's linguini or cavatelli or spaghetti or mostaccioli.''
For more information about Ohio Brewing, go online to http://www.ohiobrewing.com.
Rick Armon can be reached at 330-996-3569 or firstname.lastname@example.org.