Ohio Brewery News
Friday Six Pack with Andy Sohoza, Streetside Brewery
Every Friday, we ask an Ohio craft brewery owner or employee to answer six questions about their path to the brewing industry, what sets their brewery apart and their thoughts on craft beer in Ohio.
Today we’ll chat with Andy Sohoza, creative director at Streetside Brewery in Cincinnati.
What made you decide to get into the craft brewing industry?
I basically stumbled into it. I was kicking around a local design agency setting up their screen printing shop, and one day they asked if I wanted to take a crack at a label they were working on for a brewery in Queens, NY. I wound up spending the next four years there, working mostly on that client. I’ve worked on lots of things, from board games to album covers to cannabis companies, and craft beer is by far the most fun.
What’s your typical day like as creative director at a craft brewery?
There isn’t a typical day haha. Our marketing team is still growing at Streetside, so on any given day I could be working on anything from long term brand strategy, to label illustration, merch design, motion graphics, photography… it really runs the gamut. Which makes for a steep workload sometimes, but it’s awesome to be able to put the full range of my skillset to use, and help shape these things from start to finish.
Which of your beers do your customers enjoy the most and why?
That’s really tough to narrow down. Fruited sours like Raspberry Beret are probably what put us on the map initially, but the barrel aged stouts are knocking it way out of the park now too. The “why” in either case all comes down to our brewers being really creative coming up with flavors, but also really skilled at nailing them in a balanced and nuanced way. The precision and care they put into that definitely wins us a lot of fans.
What’s your favorite thing about your brewery?
It’s that combination of dead seriousness about our product, without taking ourselves or our image so seriously. We aren’t too cool to like wrestling or pop-punk, or do cookie decorating classes. It’s kinda the antithesis of pretense or posturing. This was the thing about Garrett, the owner, that really won me over in the beginning, and it’s laced throughout everything we do. The only aspect where we’re trying way too hard is the craft, whether that’s the beer, the art or even the merch.
Besides your own, what Ohio craft breweries impress you the most and why?
Hoof Hearted, for sure. The whole thing is just really clever and authentic. Again, make great stuff, be yourself, do the best you can and have fun in the process. I feel like they exemplify all of that. I’m a huge fan.
Where do you think craft beer is headed? What do you think craft beer will look like five years from now?
I think in the big picture, some of these non-beer things like seltzers, canned cocktails, hop water (still getting my head around that) are going to prove a little short sighted. It’s great to cater to a wider audience, and those things are definitely profitable, but at the same time it’s not necessarily creating our next generation of craft beer enthusiasts. At what point does it make more sense to just become a seltzer company? I could be wrong. I just try to stay focused on where we want to go, and that’s always going to be really excellent beer.