John Bikis was living in England when he caught the brewing bug. There, he became enamored of the British pub culture and started helping out at a local brewery.



As craft beer fans know, once you’re bit by the industry, it’s hard to ignore.



Bikis, who grew up in Stark County, and his wife, Adriana, decided they wanted to move to the Canton area and open a brewery of their own.



They’re doing just that, with the Royal Docks Brewing Co. slated to open later this year in the Marketplace at Nobles Pond, at the intersection of Fulton Drive and Wales Avenue in Jackson Township.



“I want to stick to more of an English feel and European feel,” said Bikis, who works in the medical software sales industry.



The Royal Docks name stems from the Bikises’ time in London and refers to the Docklands area, where giant cranes rise above the Thames river. The logo re-creates the image of the cranes — and also resembles a crown.



The Bikises have hooked up with Dave Sutula to launch the seven-barrel brewery and tasting room, which also will serve small-plate foods such as flatbread pizzas.



Sutula, who helped set up the new Canton Brewing Co., will serve as the brewmaster. He has been working with Esber Beverage and commuting to Canada to brew with Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery.



The Royal Docks plan is to offer 10 brands on draft, with a slant toward British and European styles. The tasting room also will offer many guest beers and Sutula said he’d like to play with some sours and barrel aging.



With Jackson Township serving as an affluent bedroom suburb of both Akron and Canton, Bikis, 34, and Sutula, 42, said they know they’ll have to offer a variety of beers and styles to succeed. They both live in the community.



The brewery’s focus will be on supplying draft beer to the tasting room, but Royal Docks will offer limited distribution of a scotch ale at the outset. There also will be some bottles available.



“Our number one goal is to serve our taproom,” Sutula said. “We’re trying to build it so the business becomes what the business wants to become.”