Ohio Brewery News
Friday Six Pack with Beth O’Harra, N.E.W. Ales Brewing
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 Beth O’Harra, co-owner and president of N.E.W. Ales Brewing in Middletown.
What made you decide to get into the craft brewing industry?
I love the idea of introducing new beers, flavor profiles and styles to those who generally don’t venture out into the big wide world of craft beers (especially women). Hearing a non-craft beer drinker say they’ve changed their mind because of what I’ve helped open them up to is an amazing feeling.
Which of your beers do your customers enjoy the most and why?
We can’t keep our OMG Becky Look At That Pumpkin beer on tap. It’s always an event leading up to release day. You get that spicy pumpkin taste without it being overly spiced, which tends to happen with a lot of pumpkin beers. Folks also gravitate toward our IPAs and sours. Our brewer is his worst critic and won’t put anything out he doesn’t like. We keep our taps rotating but always have a few staples our customers insist on us keeping.
What’s your favorite thing about your brewery?
Our staff is friendly and know the beers. We always offer tastings as we don’t want to give a customer something they won’t like. And we LISTEN to our customers. What do you generally drink, what flavors do you like or don’t like? But we also know “I don’t like IPAs” isn’t always true. We treat men, women, experienced and new beer drinkers the same. We are definitely an all inclusive, diverse brewery in a number of ways. And we are majority owned by women.
Besides your own, what Ohio craft breweries impress you the most and why?
I’m a huge Jackie O’s fan. I grew up outside of Athens and have a personal connection to the brewery. They have gone above and beyond with customer service, their beers are unique and delicious. Branch and Bone in Dayton is also a favorite. I don’t think I’ve had a bad beer from them.
Where do you think craft beer is headed? What do you think craft beer will look like five years from now?
It’s going to continue to grow. I think more and more women and people of color will continue to enter the industry and help it expand its palate, diversify it more. In five years I see craft beer expanding into flavor profiles that are completely unheard of right now. Brewers and industry professionals are now even changing the way we think about beer. I can only imagine what the future holds.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give to someone who’s looking to get into the brewing industry or open a brewery themselves?
Talk to others and learn as much as you can about the industry, including the financial and paperwork side of it. It’s not all beer and roses lol. There is so much that goes into it, that you don’t even know what you don’t know. But it’s a wonderful journey.