Cuyahoga Falls may have to change its name to Brewery Falls.
Another craft brewery has announced plans to open in the Akron suburb, meaning the community will be home to at least five breweries next year.
The latest is Cheat Canyon Brewing Co., which is investing about $1.5 million in its project and hopes to open in the summer of 2019.
Cheat Canyon will feature a 15-barrel production brewery, tasting room and 100-seat full-service restaurant inside the former Bootlegger liquor store at 461 Graham Road.
Tom Nichelson, 44, one of the three founders and a Cuyahoga Falls resident, said he's excited to join the local craft brewery scene. The city already is home to HiHO, McArthur's and Missing Mountain, and Ohio Brewing has announced plans to open a brewpub on Front Street.
“As long as we're all producing good beer, it could make us a destination hub,” he said. “Come down and do the Cuyahoga Falls crawl, so to say. I like the idea that they are popping up more and more.”
The other founders are Craig Koberlein, 40, of Tallmadge, who's also an engineer, and Bob Milvet, 44, of Morgantown, W.Va., who's an executive in the health care industry.
“We are passionate about quality beer,” Nichelson said.
They originally planned to open Cheat Canyon in Morgantown, but the deal fell through and the project moved to Cuyahoga Falls. Cheat Canyon is a reference to a whitewater portion of the Cheat River in West Virginia and the founders wanted their brewery to carry an outdoors theme.
Despite the brewery project relocating to Ohio, the name will remain.
Nichelson, Koberlein and Milvet feel the outdoors theme and name still work with the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and Cuyahoga River nearby.
Nichelson, an engineer by trade, is a longtime homebrewer who got turned on to craft beer after his first sip of Bell's Two Hearted Ale. He's partial to pale ales and IPAs, while his partners more enjoy porters, stouts, Belgians and goses.
That makes for a well-rounded beer menu. They plan to offer six to eight Cheat Canyon beers at first — “Everything from 10 percent imperial stouts to 4 percent session IPAs and everything in between,” Nichelson said.
Cheat Canyon will have 24 taps, meaning there will be many guest beers at first as the brewery ramps up its own offerings.
The goal is eventually to buy a canning line and package its beers — both 12-ounce and 16-ounce cans, depending on the style — but that won't happen right away.
The building is more than 14,600 square feet, providing plenty of room for expansion and space to offer live music. Cheat Canyon also will include many televisions, making it a great place to watch sports, Nichelson said.
The chef-driven food menu will be appetizer heavy and “gourmet comfort food,” Nichelson said. He said the menu would fit well with the television show “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” on the Food Network.
The plan now calls for Cheat Canyon to be open Wednesday through Sunday and to serve only dinner initially.
Cheat Canyon is part of a wave of craft breweries opening locally and across the country. The Brewers Association, a Boulder, Colo.-based trade group, has estimated that there are more than 6,600 breweries operating in the United States.
To follow the Cheat Canyon progress, go to www.facebook.com/CheatCanyonBrew.
Rick Armon can be reached at 330-996-3569 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read his daily beer blog at www.ohio.com/beer. Follow him on Twitter at @armonrickABJ.