USA, OH: Old Bridge Brewing Company coming to downtown McConnelsville by spring
A century old landmark is getting a face lift as the Ponchak family is bringing a craft brewery to downtown McConnelsville, the Zanesville Times Recorder reported on December 5.
The former Gutberlet Chevrolet building on the corner of Third and Main streets will house a 1,500-square-foot event space alongside Old Bridge Brewing Company's 3,000-square-foot tap room and brewery. The opening is slated for the spring.
Jennifer Ponchak hopes the brewery will bring a boost to the town. "We are looking to bring some excitement to McConnelsville. We thought it would be a nice way to bring the community together and have a gathering place."
"A place to kick back and relax" added her husband and head brewer Dean.
Dean plans to start with four different beers on the brewery's 15-barrel system - a red ale, a brown ale, an India Pale Ale and a stout. They will also brew a couple more on a small batch system, which Dean will use to "play around with, and use that to see what people like."
One of the beers the Ponchaks like is a raspberry hibiscus lemonade, which they will brew on the small batch system to gauge its reception in the community. They will also brew hard seltzers "for people who don't like beer. It's the same process," Jennifer said.
The two traveled to Colorado for beer school, the Colorado Boy Immersion Course, to transform their home brewing skills into the skills required to run a brewery.
"They covered everything, from brewing beer to cleaning kegs to federal rules - and after class you drink beer," Jennifer said.
The building's makeover has begun, with the stripping of layers of plaster and paneling, exposing some interior bricks and removing interior walls that provided offices to car salesman.
The renovation exposed some of the scars of the building's first life, as the Walker Garage, which exploded in 1914 and rebuilt in 1919. The walls of the building date back to the construction of the garage where the only part of the building to survive the explosion, which was caused by a gasoline spill and killed eight and injured five others.
The building will overlook the old bridge over the Muskingum River through wide windows, and plenty of parking will be available. The couple plans to invite food trucks in, and is working out delivery agreements with a variety of local restaurants. While they don't plan to can or bottle, they will have a crowler machine to produce 32-ounce cans for takeout, and a keg distribution is also in the works.
Jennifer is looking forward to opening soon and building a family atmosphere at the brewery. "Breweries appeal to people 21 to 90," she said.
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