Proposed BrewKraft Collective a place to brew, taste, learn about craft beer

Four friends and homebrewers want to share the camaraderie they've developed around craft beer with more people in Cincinnati.

Local attorneys Eric Palmer, Steve Sharpe, Kieran Hurley and Nick DiNardo are working to open the BrewKraft Collective, a place were craft beer lovers can meet up to share and create brews.

Palmer describes it as a nanobrewery or craft beer community center. It will be part of the neighborhood, he says, and be a place that people can walk to and grab a Cincinnati-inspired beer.

"It will be as locally focused as possible," says Palmer. "We want to use local ingredients. With beer, it's a little tricky finding hops, but we believe we can get some in the local area. We also want the beers to be locally influenced. We're working with different folks to come up with beers that are reflective of Cincinnati and Southwest Ohio."

The partners are scouting locations, and Over-the-Rhine and Northside are at the top of the list. They're looking for a space that's 5,000 to 7,000 square feet that would contain the microbrewery, tasting room and learning center.

"We want to be part of the neighborhood," Palmer says. "There are some really good [microbreweries] here, but they don't get a lot of street traffic. You have to get in your car and go to them."

Palmer's been a homebrewer for 20 years, and he's been brewing with his friends for five.

"We are passionate about brewing," he says. "We love doing it. There is still a demand in Cincinnati for craft beer that is not being met. We have some craft brewers here, but Cincinnati is behind Columbus and Cleveland. The small brewers around here can't keep up with all of the demand."

A recent change in Ohio law that makes it less costly for small breweries to operate tasting rooms spurred the idea.

"The law makes it easier to get beer in the hands of people who like craft beer, and makes it less expensive to get a license and taste beer on site," Palmer says.

Plans are to open The BrewKraft Collective within a year. The partners are looking for investors and considering buying a property through the Hamilton County Land Bank, a new program aimed at cleaning up distressed and abandoned properties across the county.

The BrewKraft Collective was a winner of Xavier University's third XLab entrepreneurship contest. University MBA students are helping polish the collective's business plan.

By Feoshia H. Davis
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