Not that we have “forgotten” about Cincinnati’s Rivertown Brewery, but it’s easy to let a brewery that has been here since 2009 slip through the cracks if you will. The brewery’s decision to move production up to the growing suburb of Monroe opens up a lot of doors for the identity of who this brewery is to us. I know that you’ve probably read a few articles about them getting their brewer’s license, but that’s not what this is about.
Building a new Monroe brewery is only one small sliver of what this is about. To me, it’s the biggest piece of the “new” Rivertown, the Rivertown that doesn’t need to listen when people told them that you shouldn’t do a restaurant and a brewery together. It’s a Rivertown that embraces their funkiness (literally) and has faith that if you make beer you love people will come… even to Monroe.
A Quick Rivertown History Lesson
When Jason Roeper, Rivertown’s owner, first started shopping the idea of a brewery it was supposed to be a brewpub. The ability to have every changing taps that play off of food is something magical for drinkers – it’s not something that a production only facility can ever touch. There was a belief that you can do things big… create a regional powerhouse that produces beer that gets people talking while still creating a local experience with food and a taproom that people want to visit.
But the banks didn’t believe in the idea. Numbers got in the way, and the “suggestion” was made that he scrap the food idea and just roll with a production only facility. There wasn’t an established template here in Cincinnati at that time because we didn’t have the beer scene that we do today. At that time, you couldn’t even have a taproom in a production facility. And so Rivertown opened their doors a very different brewery than anyone wanted. It’s not really a bad thing – after all, we wouldn’t have the Rivertown we know and love if things had been different – but it changed what the brewery was to its very core. There has always been a desire to right the ship, and follow the dream that started this whole journey for Rivertown.
In 2014 Jason Roeper bought out his business partner, Randy Shiltz (you might know that name from the very-soon-to-open Wooden Cask Brewery in Newport), it was the start of something big for Jason and Rivertown as a whole. It was time to right the ship and become what Rivertown has always been destined to be.
They wouldn’t be a sour only brewery, though their focus on their sour program got a lot bigger. They wouldn’t be a brewpub, though their focus on a restaurant style brewery is going to be very evident. They wouldn’t put production before local community drinkers, hell, free video games? They want us here. Redefining Rivertown is a complex big picture.
It’s about being tenacious. It’s about doing things the way you know you want them done, and then hoping that people understand and support you.
- More Funk
- More Sour
- Better Taproom Experience
- Better Food
- More Food
- Bigger Space
- Properly Designed Space
- More Community Support
Monroe is very much what Rivertown needed to become who they are.
Progress In Monroe
The biggest news you’re going to see is that the state has given the green light for the new brewery. This means they are on right on track with opening their doors right after the holiday season. In fact – you’ll start to see equipment moving into the Monroe facility in the coming weeks… and from there the whole process is going to move pretty quick.
The location is already starting to take shape – they have a parking lot… the start of the big outdoor patio (which if you look at the plans has space for a bar on it in the future). They’re being pretty tight-lipped about the details inside the facility, but I’m fairly certain we’ll start seeing more and more details about that too in the coming weeks.
I’m excited. It’s not just because I live in Butler County that this is so great for me, it’s all about the bridge. With breweries like FigLeaf, DogBerry, Municipal and Rivertown opening in the north side of Cincy we’re starting to tie our fantastic beer scene with the growing excitement of Dayton’s beer community as well. Bridging this gap is another piece of the puzzle that is creating a beer destination that people all across the country are going to start talking about.
In the coming month or two, as you see all this progress just know that it’s a bigger picture that you’ll really start to see when you first pull up a bar stool in Monroe.