USA, OH: Three friends to open Arrogant Goat Brewing in Bucyrus
Something's brewing on East Rensselaer Street in Bucyrus and it all started with three old friends hanging out at the Bratwurst Festival, the Bucyrus Telegraph Forum reported on May 8.
Mark Burke, David Jones and Zach Osborn have been friends since they were in school; Burke and Jones married sisters.
"We were just kind of shooting around the idea that, you know, let's get into the homebrew thing," Burke said.
They originally discussed homebrewing as a hobby, but now, they plan to open Arrogant Goat Brewing as soon as they get their operating permits and have their first beer ready to drink.
"But why do it as a hobby? Let's just do it," Burke recalled of the decision. "So we started doing some homebrew with the thought of if we get good at it, and we enjoy it, let's make something out of it. So kind of from the very beginning, we bought equipment that you could use for homebrewing but that could transition right into a small nanobrewery."
After about a year, the three were hooked and decided to launch the business.
"It just kind of continued to grow from there," Burke said. "We've only been doing it since 2018. We went from not doing any brewing to trying to open a brewery in about three years."
"We don't do anything halfway," he added, laughing.
They started looking at buildings around town almost as soon as they came up with the idea, he said.
"I know it sounds crazy, but we started looking at buildings," Burke said. They realized they weren't ready to buy a building.
"We all have full-time jobs," he said. "We're not giving that up. We're still going to work."
Burke is the superintendent of Mohawk Local Schools, but will become an executive director at Mid-Ohio Educational Service Center in Mansfield after this school year. Jones is the technology director at Crestline schools, and president of the Bucyrus board of education. Osborn, an engineer, works for a large contractor.
Since they don't plan for the nanobrewery to be a full-time occupation for any of them, they wanted to keep their overhead and expenses low, Burke said. "We landed on this place just by knowing the folks who own the building and our wives getting their hair cut at Kaye's Salon and saying hey, there's an empty space right next to it."
They decided the space at 125A E. Rensselaer St. was big enough for what they had planned "I don't think you could do it with a square foot less," Burke said and got to work updating the building, doing all of the work themselves.
The tap room will seat at most 14 people. There's a small kitchen in the back where they will brew their beer.
"We knew we're not going to get big; we're not challenging Anheuser-Busch by any means," he said. "We just wanted a place where we could do our hobby and share it with the community. We wanted to stay local; we wanted to stay in Bucyrus and really be a part of the community."
Giving back to the community will be a big part of their business plan, he said.
In addition to what they sell in the tap room, they hope other local businesses will offer their beer on tap. In turn, they'll be trying to source ingredients locally. In a really good month, they expect to produce 45 kegs of beer.
"That will go quicker than you think once you start distributing it and things of that nature," Burke said. "We are a true, true nanobrewery. ... We want to keep it small, but also give them an experience. Good beer, good conversation and hopefully partner and be able to have events where we've giving portions back to United Way or to the local police department or fire department. Truly brew local, sell local, support local."
Learning how to brew beer required plenty of research, experimentation and "a lot of trial and error, he said: "YouTube's a wonderful thing."
They also learned from some friends who are homebrewers, discovering that some beers they thought missed the mark drew rave reviews from other beer lovers.
The three men plan to offer a variety of beers, with six taps available behind the bar.
Burke said they tend to enjoy reds "like American reds, some maltier, sweeter beers."
"We're always going to have a porter or stout that's Zach's area of expertise," he said. "We'll have an American red, we've got a really good blonde, and we've got a couple of IPAs that we enjoy. A red IPA, like a Belgian-style red IPA. ... We brew just about everything. We've got some recipes that we like that we'll go into production with."
They're not sure when they'll be ready to open, since it all depends on when they pass inspection and get their operating permits.
"It could be one month, it could be four months; we don't know," Burke said.
Once that happens, they'll have to get their first batches of beer brewed before they can open the tap room doors, and that should take as much as two months. All that said, they're hoping to be open this summer or at least in time for the Bratwurst Festival in August.
Hours will be limited, because all three owners have kids and commitments. They plan to be open Fridays and Saturdays at first, then probably just one evening a week. They'll also be open during downtown events.
"We'll announce it through our social media and those kinds of things," Burke said.
They're also trying to make sure the entire venture remains somewhat light-hearted. For example, there's the name: Arrogant Goat. That was Burke's idea.
"I spend too much time I guess just out on the internet looking at stuff, and I saw a picture of a goat ... and I was like, 'That goat looks arrogant,'" he said. "And I said 'We are going to be Arrogant Goat Brewing.'"
He pitched the idea to his partners, who agreed. "It's just silly enough ... Who doesn't want to go drink at the Arrogant Goat?" he said.
They plan to play the National Anthem when they open each day, "because we love America, and that's what we're going to do. ... not a beer will be drank until that anthem is over."