An Afternoon with Railroad Brewing Company
Ahhh, that new brewery smell! This time we stopped by Railroad Brewing Company in Avon, which is due to open this Friday, March 10th! A few members of the team took time out of a pretty hectic build and brew day to speak to Fermenting Ohio on their journey thus far (and allow a sample of some wares). Thank you to Dave Lengyel (PR/Owner), Jerome Moore (Brewer/Owner) and Anthony Grazetti (Sales and Marketing) for taking the time. Other team members who contributed to this opening include: Tom Wagner, Neil Kowalski and Tom Culler, who we hope to meet soon. Per the wishes of the team, I've kept my photos to a minimum to give the full effect this Friday. Hope to see you there!
Fermenting Ohio: Tell us about how you went from distribution only to opening a taproom in Avon, Ohio.
Railroad Brewing Company: It’s been a heck of a journey. Tom and Jerome started this idea about four years ago, and it grew as we started sharing our idea and networking with other brewers around the state. Jerome is our brewer and was brewing on a one barrel system that he fabricated. We hadn’t been selling anything, but we had been donating and distributing product to fundraisers for Make-A-Wish, various cancer fundraisers, basically non-profits. We wanted to send the message that we’re here to help and share a beer. We want to promote a neighborhood feel as well as connect the dots between Cleveland through Lorain County and out to the Islands. Our units are American made and we chose the railroad logo due to the former steel industry presence. Ohio used to ship a lot of steel to Detroit, Chicago, Toledo, everything used to have to cross this way and people have forgotten the importance Lorain County held that way. As Avon grows, we want to connect the past with the future. This did start as a hobby, we discovered Jerome was quite talented at making home brew, there was a lot of positive feedback and thought we could make a business out of this. We have 3.5 acres, and a great community around us. We’re hopeful this location will allow us to be a force in the community as well as create jobs.
FO: Your brewery space is pretty unique, it's a beautiful taproom with an unassuming exterior. How did you come about this?
RBC: This space used to be a couple different businesses. We’ll be using the house part of the property as office space and the taproom and brewery section will serve the community. We’ve held off putting pictures up on social media to really surprise everyone when we open our doors.
FO: Were there other locations you were considering? Why Lorain County?
RBC: First and foremost, we grew up here. Once this idea for a brewery began to get serious, we did some research, Avon had the right demographics and hits a need, Lorain County is a step behind in the brewery scene. The opportunity is here for us we’re really excited to get our doors open in the city we call home.
FO: Is there a spectrum of styles we’re going to stick to?
RBC: We aren’t here to find a white whale, we’re here to make good beer and listen to what the people say. We have a lot of IPA ideas, as that’s very popular right now, but Jerome has also made an amazingly smooth stout. We also have two main flagships, our Red Caboose (our amber beer) and our Tender Blonde, which we feel serves as a great introductory beer to the craft world. We’ll do a few small batches with higher ABV, but our focus will be on quality, drinkable beers. We have beers for people just starting out in the craft world (the Bud Light drinkers) and beers for those who are looking for something more hand crafted. We’re going to try to offer what the people like based on the feedback we get, and look forward to hearing from the crowds once we open.
FO: Are you just going to stick to being a brewery or is their food in your future?
RBC: We’re planning on having several food trucks available for our guests, but we’re focusing on beer first. We’ll have some local Ohio wines and local spirits to offer our guests as well.
FO: Are there any companies in the craft beer world that have inspired you?
RBC: We love what New Belgium does where their employees run the company, their beers are so well received, they’re really a great place to look up to. Fat Heads is a great company structure as well, we like their mug clubs and tapping parties. The conventions we’ve been to have shown us what a collaborative nature the brewing industry is, it’s not a competition. If you ever need help, there are always resources, it’s really cool to talk to people who have been in the industry for years.
FO: Any plans for competitions?
Jerome: We plan on entering a few competitions once we get up and running, we want our beers to be available before we put ourselves out there so people can try what we're submitting.
FO: Jerome, what’s the favorite beer that you’ve brewed so far?
Jerome: I have a coffee stout I really like, but that probably won’t go on tap just yet. I do make a summer shandy I love to drink. But, right now, probably the Red Caboose, it’s one you can always go for.
FO: Are you going to continue with the philanthropic brewing?
RBC: Yes, that will always be a part of our company. We’ll always have the doors open for people that need help, especially since we’ll have our own space now that we can extend to the community in the form of small events and fundraising. We’ll also stay local to Avon in our ingredients and help when we can, that’s something that’s very important to us.
Things continue to look up for Lorain County! Railroad will be opening their doors this Friday, so make sure to add them to your list:
Railroad Brewing Company
1010 Center Road
Avon, OH 44011