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.”
In other words, customers ultimately will drive the direction for the brewery.
For more details about Royal Docks, go to: www.royaldocksbrewing.com.
Crafted Artisan Meadery in Suffield Township is changing the names of two of its popular meads after a trademark issue with Vermont-based Long Trail Brewing Co., which recently moved into Ohio.
Pollinator, a dry-hopped blackberry mead, will now be called Pollen-Nation, and Chipotle Pollinator will become Chipotle Pollen-Nation. The new names are expected to hit the market in May.
Long Trail has a beer called Pollenator and didn’t want Crafted Artisan to use the Pollinator name, meadery owner Kent Waldeck said.
“They were nice about it,” he said. “They let us sell through our existing inventory.”
BrewDog to Columbus
Columbus may have lost out on Stone Brewing Co., but it looks like it will gain a BrewDog production brewery.
The Scottish brewery that brags that it makes “hardcore beers for punks” announced on its website this week that it is looking into opening a production brewery in the community.
“We are also delighted to announce that we are in advance discussions for a site in Columbus, Ohio that would house our USA production brewery,” the brewery said on its blog. “We will hopefully be able to provide you all with more of an update on this as soon as we can. In the meantime, we will continue to work hard to make this plan a reality!”
The brewery, which makes brands such as Punk IPA, Dogma and Cocoa Psycho, couldn’t be reached for comment.
The award-winning DuClaw Brewing Co. is moving into Ohio in May.
The Baltimore brewery makes well-known brands such as Sweet Baby Jesus, a chocolate peanut butter porter, and Dirty Little Freak, a coconut caramel chocolate brown ale.
Rick Armon can be reached at 330-996-3569 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read his beer blog at ohio.com/beer. Follow him on Twitter at armonrickABJ.