Big Rack Brewing’s beers will be available by the growler, howler, pint and sample. Photo from Kennedy Vineyard Facebook page.

New brewery poised to open — and its location might surprise you

Kennedy Vineyards in southern Darke County has operated strictly as a winery since it was founded in 2009, but is now poised to open Big Rack Brewery at its facility and tasting room at 3911 State Route 722 near New Madison.

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“We wanted to give or customers a new experience,” winery and brewery co-founder John Kennedy told this news outlet late last week. “We kept hearing customers — usually husbands, but sometimes wives, too — say, ‘I don’t drink wine. I’m a beer drinker.’”

Others have heard a similar tale of woe — and are also acting on it. Just today, June 5, this news outlet reported that FigLeaf Brewing Co. in Middletown is seeking a license to make and serve its own wines alongside its beers. Other wineries such as Valley Vineyards in Warren County and Debonne winery in northeast Ohio established craft breweries years ago to accommodate customers’ preferences.

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Instead of trying to convert his beer-drinking customers into wine enthusiasts, Kennedy decided to cater to them. Plans call for the initial tap list to include four beers: a coffee oatmeal stout, a Scottlish ale, a double IPA and a pilsner. The beers will be available by the sample, pint, howler (32-ounce container) and growler (64-ounce container).

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The new brewery will start slowly, brewing beer in five-gallon and 10-gallon batches initially.

“We should have our license (today) or Tuesday, and we should have beer in about three weeks,” Kennedy said.

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