Ohio Brewery News
Friday Six Pack with Jay and Lori Wince, Weasel Boy 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 Jay and Lori Wince, the owners, brewers and jacks-of-all-trades at Weasel Boy Brewing in Zanesville.
What made you decide to get into the craft brewing industry?
In the early 90’s we were travelling a lot and we started visiting many of the craft breweries that were opening at that time. Jay started brewing at home about ’95 and the love of craft beer became a real passion. That led us into thinking of doing it for a living in the early 2000s. When we opened in ’07 there were fewer than 30 breweries in Ohio to our recollection.
Coming up on your 15th anniversary, what advice would you give to breweries that are just getting started?
Our advice probably isn’t as popular or in tune with what a lot of newer brewers would be thinking but we would say have a plan of what you want to do. Have a niche that you want to fill. Stick with it to see if it will work but if things don’t go as planned or if you’re not selling the beer styles you are brewing listen to what your customers want and brew them something that they will buy.
We chose to brew mostly established styles and not jump on every trend that came along in the last 15 years. We cater to ourselves and to our local clientele. We’ve not made every new style of IPA that has come along since we’ve opened. We didn’t jump on the sour bandwagon when it was at its peak. We haven’t done seltzers or hazys. We brew what we like but also what our customers in our area like. Sometimes that seems old fashioned and limiting but we find it very liberating. A lot of the traditional styles we’ve been brewing for years are now finding new fans and we’ve had them all along. Of course that’s just our take and everyone has a different vision. Just have fun and enjoy it and adapt when necessary.
Which of your beers do your customers enjoy the most and why?
Our best-selling beer year-round is our Plaid Ferret Scottish Ale. We believe that is due to its very easy drinking nature. It is a malty beer well balanced by the bittering hops. There is no real noticeable hop character, it’s all smooth maltiness but not sweet. And it’s only 4.5% abv. Seasonally our Mango Wheat is the big summer seller and Anastasia Russian Imperial Stout is the winter favorite. The Mango is well balanced, softly fruity and refreshing and the Russian is full bodied and again well balanced between malt, roast and bitterness. They are all easy drinking in our opinion.
What’s your favorite thing about your brewery?
We really like our vibe and our clientele. We’re a throwback pub. Not trendy at all, no TV’s: never had them, never will. People socialize here. They don’t watch the game, they don’t bury themselves in their phones, they come here to hang out with friends, family and to meet people. Our music is also great. We’ve been doing live music for over 13 years and we get acts from all over the country in all different genres.
Besides your own, what Ohio craft breweries impress you the most and why?
Jay is more of a traditionalist and loves the old faithful breweries and styles. He enjoys Great Lakes and Barley’s among quite a few others that do traditional styles faithfully. Lori is a fan of JAFB and Wooly Pig to name a couple for their atmosphere and their range of beer. That being said there are so many great beers in Ohio it’s hard to pick just a few!
Where do you think craft beer is headed? What do you think craft beer will look like five years from now?
That’s a tough one. We don’t really know what to think. Craft seems to be trendy at times, but it seems the tried-and-true styles always come back around even if they fade away for a while. Look at lagers. Jay seems to think lagers will continue to grow and find appreciation, especially the harder to find styles like schwarzbier and the bocks, the malty styles. We’re sure we’ll see a few new things pop up as well!