Whether you’re in the mood to raise a pint glass or sip a classic Sidecar, Ohio’s homegrown beverage industry makes anything possible. The number of craft breweries and distilleries in Ohio has undergone a significant increase in recent years. As of 2013, 15 craft breweries called Central Ohio home. The rest of Ohio housed 35, for a total of 50 statewide. This area is primed for even more development thanks to Ohio State University and the young population in the area.
Several Ohio companies, including Middle West Spirits, spearheaded the state’s growing beverage industry, with a promise to use ingredients produced in the state.
Brady Konya and his business partner Ryan Lang founded the Columbus micro-distillery in 2008, focusing on producing high-quality liquor that champions Ohio agriculture’s signature flavors.
“We source 100 percent of our wheat from Ohio or the basin of the Ohio River Valley,” Konya says. “What’s interesting about wheat is that the flavor of the grain not only depends on the variety, but also where it is grown. Because of that, location and consistency is very important to us.”
Along with producing a top-shelf product, Konya says the distilling and brewing industries have huge potential to become a big engine for economic development in Ohio, especially in the aspect of agritourism.
“It’s about creating destinations and experiences for customers so there is a cultural component,” he says. “You want to extend the brand of the state.”
Faced with more significant restrictions than wineries and breweries, Middle West Spirits is working with the Ohio Distillers Guild and regulators to build these experiences and the craft distilling industry in the state.