Good beer, word of mouth — and new Anderson zoning — help Jeff Graff expand Paradise Brewing

Now maybe he can get his floor drain
Posted at 11:00 AM, Jun 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-15 11:00:08-04

ANDERSON TOWNSHIP, Ohio -- Jeff Graff is quick with a laugh.

It makes sense that the owner of Paradise Brewing is in a good mood these days. His venture is expanding, and his customer base is growing through word of mouth.

In short, life is good in Paradise.

Paradise, located on Beechmont Avenue, recently upgraded from a 10-gallon brewing system to a five-barrel system. This means it can start filling some outside orders and grow its brand.

“It’s the difference between cooking in your kitchen at home to cooking at McDonald’s,” Graff said. “It’s more of a business. You go from not using pumps and large hoses to having to figure out flow.

"Everything doesn’t happen on a bigger system like it does on a smaller system,” he said. “It truthfully is night and day.”

Paradise Brewing's brewing systems.

Paradise began as a homebrew supply company, and some notable area brewers used to come in to buy supplies before they launched their own breweries.

Graff, who had a bit of experience brewing at Bad Tom Smith, opened the taproom in March 2014. Business has blossomed since then.

Paradise brews beers of all styles, which rotate among its four taps. Currently, it offers All American IPA, Killer Kolsch, Beer X Peppercorn Pale Ale and another ale, Area 51, which uses exclusively Galaxy hops.

“My idea is to go a little slowly,” he said. “When I get my beer out there, I want to be able to keep it out there.”

The increased capacity has allowed Graff to expand his distribution out of Anderson. Skipper’s River Café in New Richmond tapped a barrel of his first batch of All American IPA last month. It was a sale that Graff didn’t solicit, but it has worked out for both parties.

Judy Vogel, who owns Skipper’s along with her husband, Joe, approached Paradise about getting All American IPA. She said it sold well in its first weekend at the café.

“We like to support the small guys,” said Joe Vogel. “He hand-delivered it and went out of his way for us. We have eight taps, and the draft beer has been a total, total success.”

“It’s a conspiracy,” Graff said with a laugh. “We had patrons who went down and said, ‘You should get this beer on tap.’ It’s nice to have friends like that. When people come in and want your beer, it doesn’t get better than that.”

Paradise Brewing's fermenters.

The expansion comes with a learning curve attached. For example, the first batch of beer that was fermented in the new tanks posed a problem Paradise hadn’t encountered on the older, smaller system.

“After the fermenter was emptied, I saw the dry hop bags still in it, and now they were down in the cone,” Graff said. “I’m going, ‘How am I going to get those?’”

(He did have a tool capable of extending and grasping, so all was well.)

Paradise’s customers are also excited that their favorite brews may soon be more widely available.

“I hate IPAs, but I like All American IPA,” said Travis Stroehlein, a Paradise patron. “I like that it’s a small brewery and we’re sitting here talking with a brewer. Everyone who works here is involved in the process.”

Anderson Township approved microbreweries within its limits in May, which was big news for Paradise. The brewery had operated previously with tacit permission, but in order to keep growing, Paradise needed a change in town regulations.

“It allows me to get a floor drain,” Graff said, laughing again.