Ohio Brewery News
Friday Six Pack with Eric Kuebler, The Laird Arcade 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 Eric Kuebler, director of operations and “taste tester” at The Laird Arcade Brewery in Tiffin.
What made you decide to get into the craft brewing industry?
After 15 years of brewing at home, a strong desire to give back to my home town (I have wanted a business involving craft beer since the mid ’90s, though the business model has evolved over the years), encouragement from my wife and friends, and great advice from my dad about life and how regret is more often from not doing things than from trying to do something you are passionate about.
Which of your beers do your customers enjoy the most and why?
It really depends on the customer. Some expect one of our flagships for their consistency. Others come for the newest offering. And some come for our alternative offerings such as our seltzers or goses.
The Heritage Fest (Marzen) is my go-to beer when it’s in season. Rob brews it in March and it just teases us until September when it finally goes on tap for our Oktoberfest. The rest of the year I go for the Pop Kölscher (kölsch style) when it’s on tap. It’s a great utility beer in that it’s light and crisp for quaffing, yet carries enough flavor to slow down and enjoy over conversation. Plus, the name is a nod to my degree so there’s some fun with that.
What’s your favorite thing about your brewery?
My favorite thing is getting to meet our customers and learning about them and their stories – where they are from, where they are going, why they decided to visit us. It has been very humbling to see such a positive impact our beer and taproom have had on so many peoples lives.
Besides your own, what Ohio craft breweries impress you the most and why?
Ohio in general has an amazing array of beers. I believe we are carving out our deserved recognition as a state with a great craft beer culture. I try to get out to as many fellow breweries as I can when I can. I am particularly proud of the 419 and the progress we have made in creating a craft beer presence.
How have beer tourism programs like the Ohio On Tap passport app and the 419 Ale Trail helped your brewery and the others in your area?
Beer tourism has been a great boost to our business. It’s so cool to see so many people enthusiastic about craft beer! I love hearing people’s stories about their travels and experiences. TagaBrew, 419 Ale Trail, Ohio on Tap, Seneca County Brew Tour have all been wonderful additions to the local craft beer industry. I always try to share the other apps with folks when they come in working on one specific app in an effort to cross promote, since all the apps have been great at bringing people in to see us. I always tell people to say “hi” to the next brewery when they get there, usually Rose (The Tiffin Brewery) or Mike and Tiffany (The UrbanWoody Brewery) or Derek (Carey Brewing Station), tell them some of my favorites, and try to make their experience as enjoyable as possible. Because at the end of the day, it’s the customers that we do all this for, well, and for the love of beer.
Where do you think craft beer is headed? What do you think craft beer will look like five years from now?
I believe we are headed to a smaller circle on the map per brewery. We will continue to see regionals rise and fall (mostly stable), but the neighborhood watering holes will gain the largest shares in the next five years.