WEST CHESTER, Ohio – The wait is almost over.
After a nearly two-month hiatus to make a 4-mile move, West Chester's DogBerry Brewing is ready for its grand re-debut. The new taproom, at 9964 Crescent Park Drive, will open at 4 p.m. Friday.
DB2, as its called, is twice the size of the previous location, at 7865 Cincinnati Dayton Road, with 10 times the capacity. Co-owners Tony Meyer and Chris Frede have moved to a 10-barrel brewhouse (up from one before) with 20 taps (up from 10) in 4,740 square feet (double their previous joint).
It was all by necessity. DogBerry quickly outgrew its original space within six months of its debut, Meyer said.
"We were successful right off the bat, which was fortunate, but we were selling everything we could make in a week," Meyer said. "We had proven ourselves and thought we made some really good beers. It was the next natural step."
Meyer and Frede, two former stay-at-home dads and, before that, scientists at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center working in infectious disease, opened DB1 in January 2015 after homebrewing for a combined 20 years. They initially ran the operation using volunteer help from family and friends.
"That only lasted for about the first three to six months," said Frede.
It still stands as the area's first craft brewery, although Grainworks Brewing Co. plans to open at 7790 Service Center Drive in West Chester Township this fall. They announced expansion plans in June 2016.
The Crescent Park Drive facility, a former Fastenal and office for R&R Tool, is open concept. Seating – there's space for about 150 – is a mix between stools and picnic tables. There's skee-ball and air hockey for gaming, and baseball stitching in the bar top.
While there are 20 total taps, not all will be populated to start. They brewed six beers on site; less than a dozen others are carryovers, and in fairly short supply. Highlights include Sour Bray's, a sour brown ale; Citra, an American Style IPA; and a reworked Mar's Madness, an imperial IPA.
Meyer and Frede hope to brew more than 1,200 barrels in the first year in the new space; that shift bumps DogBerry from nano to microbrewery status. While there's no formal definition of either, Meyer called it a sweet spot.
"This size, this segment," he said, "is the whole of the growth in the craft beer industry right now."
Their own growth has been organic, and the new taproom will carry over the same neighborhood-type feel, he said.
"There's nothing pretentious, ever," Meyer said. "Part of what makes this company so successful is we make beer that we want to drink. Craft beer newbies can come in here and get their feet wet and feel comfortable; we have beers on the entry-level scale. And we can also talk (shop) with the beer geeks or professional brewers. It's always been that laid-back atmosphere."
The new space will allow them to participate in more community and beer festivals and events, such as West Chester Township's Thursday night summer concert series, the Takeover on the Square. And expect to see more DogBerry around town once things settle. Before, roughly 95 percent of sales were taproom based. Meyer and Frede have hired a full-time staffer – their first – to handle distribution and sales.
"The work week doesn't change that much for us, but there's just the ease in production per hour – if we brew three days in a row, that’s equivalent to seven and a half weeks of work at the old place," Meyer said.
You would be safe to bookmark this address: There's some room to expand, but beyond that, another move is not in the business plan.
"It was worth it, but we can do a lot with this location," Frede said. "We had a vision, and it's amazing to see how it's turned out."
Friday's grand opening celebration (4-10 p.m.) will carry over into Saturday (noon-10 p.m.) and Sunday (noon-8 p.m.). More permanent hours will be announced at a later date.