Efficient Plant July 2018 - 22
feature | plant profile
Automation and a focus on
reliable processes are at the
core of a craft-beer business
that grew from a hobby to a
full-time pursuit in less than
JASON ROEPER GREW up watching and learning from his uncle, a
hobbyist home brewer. The day he turned 21, Roeper went to his uncle's
house and brewed his first batch of beer. He honed his craft and, in 2007,
submitted his unblended Elderberry Lambic, "Straight Up," to the Sam
Adams Longshot Competition. He was named a finalist, which inspired
him to pursue his dream of becoming a craft-beer brewer.
In 2009, after being laid off from a corporate job, Roeper translated his
longtime vision into a business plan and began the Rivertown Brewing
Company in Lockland, OH. In 2017, he expanded to a larger space in
Monroe, OH, and rebranded the business Rivertown Brewery & Barrel
House (rivertownbrewery.com), which now covers 31,000 sq. ft., including the manufacturing facility and a barbeque restaurant and pub. With a
417-barrel fleet, the company produces 28,000 barrels of beer in 28 flavor
varieties annually, and distributes in 37 U.S. states.
"Everyone said I was crazy and told me I'd never make
a business out of this. This was before craft beer really
caught on," he explained.
Roeper met with the local Small Business Administration and was told to rethink his idea of
starting a beer pub. "I had no restaurant experience, so I couldn't get support on that idea,"
he said. "I just went right into production only.
The Rivertown Brewery & Barrel House in Monroe, OH,
has a 417-barrel fleet. The facility includes a manufacturing and bottling area, barbeque restaurant, and a pub.