Vance Nation is the founder and a brewer at Lake Rat Brewing Co. in Celina. The seven-barrel brewpub opened in March.

Question: Why did you become a brewer?

Answer: My wife and I purchased a downtown space that was in serious disrepair. After lots of late nights repairing the space, my wife opened a gift shop and art studio. The business was not growing and inventory turns were slow. We basically were spending any money we made on additional inventory.

After lots of soul searching, we were all standing in the space drinking a brew and decided a brewery would be perfect. A longtime friend, my wife and I set out on a journey of breweries. After making lots of new beer friends and meeting numerous brewers and brewery owners throughout the USA, we felt right at home with our future aspirations of becoming brewers and brewery owners.

Q: What's the story behind the name Lake Rat?

A: We live on Grand Lake St.Mary’s in Celina, Ohio. My family and friends spend a lot of our recreational time on the water cruising some of the local watering holes. We have raised our two daughters on the lake and seem to spend our vacations around the water. One night out on the pontoon, we realized we needed a name that reflected our laid back and yet active lifestyles and my oldest daughter, Shelbi, out of no where says, 'We are a bunch of Lake Rats.' Really was a no brainer at that point.

Q: What has been the highlight of your brewing career so far and why was it so special? (Maybe it's been a beer that you brewed, an award that you won, an idol you've met …)

A: The highlight of my career has been the support we are getting from our local community, our friends and the brewing industry. It also should be mentioned that we happen to live in a community that enjoys good beer and everyone loves to get out and mingle.

Q: Usually I ask what a brewery’s best-selling beer is, but with Lake Rat being so new I’ll mix up this question. If someone drops into your brewery now and can have only one of your beers, what beer do you hand them and why? (And assume that he or she enjoys all styles. So pick what you think is your best beer or what best represents your brewery.)

A: Brew Juice is our flagship beer that reflects the laid back, hard working and active lake community of Celina, Ohio. Brew Juice is an extremely smooth, easy drinking, hazy double IPA that you can enjoy with friends, after work and with family while cruising in your pontoon on the lake or grilling out in your back yard hanging with your friends.

Q: Which beer – any beer in the world – do you wish that you created/brewed and why?

A: As a craft brewer and owner, it is with great difficulty that I have to say Budweiser. To me, it’s not just the beer but the legacy of Adolphus Busch, Eberhard Anheuser, and of course Gussie and their families. Their ability to come to the USA, raise a beer savvy family, navigate fierce competition, Prohibition, the depression and, of course, their savvy business skills that grew their beer company into a global brand are somewhat mind-boggling to me.

Editor's note: The Five questions with ... feature appears each Friday. If you would like to participate or would like to nominate someone to participate, send me an email at rarmon@thebeaconjournal.com.