Numbers Brewing Co. has no aspirations to take the beer world by storm when it opens. Co-owner and brewer Jeramy DeBord says he first wants to make a splash and develop fans in his own backyard.
Numbers, a new nanobrewery, hopes to open in two or three months in Lisbon, a sleepy village in Columbiana County about a half-hour south of Youngstown.
“It’s a little bit exciting,” said DeBord, 37, who lives in Calcutta and works in information technology and software development. “We want to build a local customer base and strong base in Columbiana County and we can expand from there.”
He and his partners are turning a former liquor store on North Beaver Street into their brewery and tasting room, which also will offer small-plate appetizers. They have a Psycho Brew system ready to go that can make up to five barrels at a time, but they will focus on smaller batches at the onset.
DeBord has been brewing on and off for the last 15 years, starting in college with, as many folks do, a Mr. Beer Kit. He then made the transition into homebrewing as a serious hobby. He described himself as “an IPA-, porter-, stout-kind-of-guy. Those are my three favorites.”
Numbers will offer six different beers to start, ranging in style from a kolsch to a chocolate stout. DeBord expects the first line-up to feature a kolsch, witbier, porter, stout and a couple India pale ales — or some combination of those styles.
“If we wouldn’t drink it, we won’t serve it at our place,” he said.
They plan to keg their beer initially, with limited distribution to local restaurants and bars. In the future, they’d like to move into bottling or canning, with them leaning toward canning.
There is significance to the name Numbers Brewing.
It dates to his days at Bethany College in West Virginia, where he met one of his partners and fellow brewer.
“We ended up joining the same fraternity, Beta Theta Pi,” DeBord said. “When pledging is completed, each new member is provided a roll number. That roll number gives each member a kind of seniority. The lower the numbers, the better. ‘Numbers’ are invoked at every opportunity to give your buddies a hard time. Like taking shotgun in the car, getting a better seat at the bar, switching cleaning responsibilities at the house, etc.
“The roll numbers are represented with a hyphen in front of and behind the members numbers. My numbers, for example, are -1450-. These numbers mean a lot to the guys that went through pledging to get them. The majority of the guys that made it through had them tattooed somewhere on their bodies.
“We chose the name because the term Numbers means something to us. It reminds us of living in a house with a tight group of friends that did everything together. We also chose the name because, numbers can mean a lot of things to different people. We wanted a name that had meaning to us but was generic enough to have mass appeal. We will incorporate numbers into the names and labels of all our beers.”
DeBord said he and his partners are quite happy with choosing Lisbon, which has about 2,850 residents and serves as the county seat. There’s no other brewery in the immediate area, giving them a monopoly of sorts. The closest one is Rust Belt Brewing in Youngstown.
“It’s a strong little community,” he said of Lisbon. “We’re definitely looking forward to being a part of it.”