Magic City Brewing Co. is moving from its namesake community and opening a brewpub in Akron.
The popular Barberton brewery and taproom has filed an application with the Ohio Division of Liquor Control to transfer its brewing permit to 2727 Manchester Road just south of Interstate 277/U.S. Route 224 and across the street from Lake Nesmith. The 4,078-square-foot site formerly housed the Mi Hacienda Mexican Bar & Grill and Tim Owens' Traveler's Tavern.
"It's a good opportunity and it fell out of the sky for us," co-owner and brewer Jay Graham said Monday.
He announced late last year that he was searching for a new location, saying he was tired of dealing with Barberton politics. The belief at the time was that Magic City — which carries Barberton's nickname — was headed to the Portage Lakes area.
Graham isn't sure when the move will occur because he has to wait for the government approval.
The small brewery, now in a downtown storefront at 161 Second St. NW, will relocate its 3.5-barrel brewing system and other equipment to Akron. It will add additional seven-barrel fermenters and wood fodors so it can produce more beer and offer special can releases, Graham said.
There also will be a kitchen, turning Magic City into a brewpub. Its current location has a tasting room but no food. Graham said he's now looking for a chef. He declined to talk about specifics related to the food.
Graham and his partner considered buying a larger brewing system to make more beer but thought better of it after analyzing social media reviews of Magic City.
"Love us or hate us, the No. 1 thing people like about us is we’re constantly doing different things," Graham said. "If I put beer in a giant 10-barrel system, that’s going to change what our customer base likes about us."
Magic City, which opened in 2017, is known for flavorful beers ranging from fruited sours to hazy IPAs to a chocolate peanut butter coffee stout.
Graham said he doesn't think there will be any issue with the Magic City going to the Rubber City. The new site is only about 4 miles away.
"Our customer base has grown so much that the majority of people are coming from outside Barberton and the majority of people don’t know why it’s named Magic City," he said. "We’ve already done a pretty good job [attracting customers] and we’re going to keep doing what we’re doing and keep trying to give people what they want."
It's unclear what will become of the current brewery site.
"We don’t really know what we are going to do with Barberton yet," Graham said.
Even if there's no Magic City in the Magic City, Barberton won't be brewery-less. It's home to Ignite Brewing Co., which won a medal at last year's Great American Beer Festival.
Rick Armon can be reached at 330-996-3569 or email@example.com. Read his daily beer blog at www.ohio.com/beer. Follow him on Twitter at @armonrickABJ.