Kenny McNutt of MadTree Brewing
Kenny McNutt co-founded MadTree Brewing in Columbia Township, which has a taproom open Thursday-Saturday, and plans to begin organized tours soon.
How did you start your business?
Jeff Hunt and I started brewing about four years ago, and shortly thereafter, we met Brady Duncan, who was also breaking into home brewing. It didn't take long for us to put all of our equipment together and start brewing 15-20 gallons about every weekend. Independently, we had all considered the possibility of taking this thing to the next level, but I think the combination of the three of us really created the dynamic that any two of us just didn't possess.
As we set out to prove to ourselves that we could produce good, consistent beer, and learn as much about brewing as possible, we began what became a 16-month journey of business planning, money raising and constant beer brewing.
Once the business plan was in place, we contacted a few hundred of our friends and family with the opportunity to invest in the company. Following that raise, we also sought a bank loan, which brought the total capital to about $900,000. I believe one of the reasons for our early success was the amount of planning we did.
How did you come up the idea for your business?
It all goes back to when I met Jeff, and we began a small “Beer of the Week Club” here in Cincinnati. We’d invite friends over once a week and someone would bring a six-pack of beer for tasting. We tried hundreds of different beers over the years and eventually decided to start home brewing.
If I remember correctly, we brewed a single “kit” beer, and then decided it was time to brew an all-grain recipe. From there, the momentum just continued.
What resources here did you take advantage of and how did they help?
We leveraged the Small Business Association to help guarantee a bank loan.
What inspires you?
The community support we have received has been a huge inspiration. Every day I’m amazed at how much everyone has helped us along the way.
What’s next for you and your company?
Let us get through the startup phase, and then we’ll let you know what’s next. We just opened the taproom this past Saturday and launched cans this past Saturday. We are now the very first brewery in Ohio to put craft beer in a can.
Interview by Robin Donovan