New Rhinegeist brewery rises up in Over-the-Rhine

Beer production could begin by end of 2013

CINCINNATI - A new brewer is set to make Over-the-Rhine its home and it brings with it a respect for the history of the area, with a taste of West Coast.

Company president Bob Bonder and vice-president of marketing Bryant Goulding said the idea behind Rhinegeist started in 2007 when the pair was hanging out in San Francisco.

At the time, Goulding was working on his own homebrew beers and Bonder was roasting coffees.

While Goulding went on to work for several breweries, Bonder brought his coffee to Cincinnati and opened up the Tazza Mia coffee house in 2008.

Fast forward to 2012 and after a couple visits and many talks, Bonder and Goulding decided to open up a brewery in Cincinnati.

Once the pair fully decided on the plan, they went about trying to find funding for the project. Bonder and Goulding said they secured $1.2 million in private equity and about half of that money has gone to equipment already.

In a release, Goulding said he was actually sold on the idea of opening up the brewery in the old Christian Moerlein bottling facility on Vine Street after just his second visit to the Queen City.

Rhinegeist means “ghost of the Rhine” and the guys said they are proud to be opening a business in the historic Over-the-Rhine neighborhood.

Construction is still under way at the building. Rhinegeist will be located on the second floor of the building and has 25,000 square feet of space to work with.

The pair said they plan to be open by the end of 2013, if not earlier if everything goes right.

Just in the past few weeks, Rhinegeist purchased a brew house facility from a brewery in Mexico.

“We got a great deal on it and it’s a beefcake of a brew house,” Goulding said.

In addition to the brew house, Rhinegeist will feature a tasting room for patrons to come in and enjoy.

Once production begins, Rhinegeist will be producing an annual capacity of about 2,500bbl -- about 5,000 kegs or 77,500 gallons of beer.

Goulding said once production gets rolling, they still have enough space to ramp up their line to produce 6,000 to 8,000bbl.

Rhinegeist won’t just be brewing kegs though. While most craft brewers are using bottles, Rhinegeist will only be using cans and will even feature 16-ounce sizes once production begins.

To brew all that beer, Rhinegeist needed a head brewer and they turned a man already well-known in the Cincinnati brewing scene.

Rhinegeist procured the services of Jim Matt, who was the brewer at the Christian Moerlein Lager House.

Before working for Christian Moerlein, Matt had been a chemist for 20 years and eventually worked at the Sun King Brewery in Indianapolis when he transitioned into the brewing industry.

Unlike many of Cincinnati beers that are mostly Germanic and malty in character; Rhinegeist will be “West Coast” style beers. Goulding said they will be brewing with a variety of Pacific Northwest hops for a balance of intensity and drinkability.

“We’re looking at beers that people want to drink on a daily basis that have a lot of flavor to them,” Matt said.

Rhinegeist will feature British dark-mild style, a golden ale, a hoppy wheat pale ale and an India pale ale, as well as plenty of seasonal beers.

Goulding said Rhinegeist plans to mainly produce for the Cincinnati area and plans to self-distribute. They’ll even feature a refrigerated truck to get the beer to market.

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