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Northside brewery survives coronavirus pandemic with help from community

The Humble Monk beer.png
The Humble Monk Brewery.png
Posted at 9:25 PM, Jun 30, 2021

CINCINNATI — When you make a place for friends – those friends make time for you. One Northside neighborhood establishment proved that pouring folks a cold one can really warm some people’s hearts.

The Humble Monk on Blue Rock Street proves there’s a lot of story in one glass of beer – as the realization of a homebrewer’s dream.

“The dream itself is making great craft beer and sharing that dream with people,” Humble Monk Brewing Company brewmaster Mike Kemp said.

When the coronavirus pandemic hit, The Humble Monk had only been open about a year.

“It was tough,” Humble Monk Brewing Company co-owner Alicia Kemp said. “We went from 100% to 50, and then to limited to carry out because we can’t serve people indoors.”

Urban Artifact helped them out by selling cans on a smaller scale so they could get carry-out going. And when they opened their doors again, customers volunteered to help the Kemps tend bar and more.

“When they care for the brewery, it feels like they’re caring for my family, which is really sweet,” the Kemps' daughter, Dana Ackley, said.

She also donated her time to keep the beer brewing – and flowing.

“It’s amazing,” Mike Kemp said. “They invested in us – felt we were worthy of their help.”

That feeling fueled the couple to do their best to keep providing a place where neighbors across the Tri-State could meet to celebrate the good things in life.

“It really surprised us how blessed we were – with the customers and friends who helped us in a time of need – just so we could keep going,” Alicia Kemp said.

The Humble Monk’s survival and growth gives real meaning to the slogan pained on the wall of the brewery’s walls: from humble beginnings come great things.

The brewery survived because of the community, and it was even started that way. The Kemps said the name is even the result of a crowdsourced poll.