Sonder Brewing focuses on experience, aims to open more locations

Setting one’s business apart from others like it is important to success, and for Sonder Brewing in Mason, uniqueness is not just a business strategy. It’s part of its ethos.

Sonder, which has been open since Oct. 27, 2018, includes a 30-barrel brewhouse, a 2,000-square-foot taproom, and an outdoor, dog-friendly beer garden. Sonder Brewing is not only a taproom but also a production brewery.

“Many customers know our taproom and love their experience in the beer garden, but do not realize that we also sell our beers to over 2,000 locations in Ohio and Kentucky including package stores, bars and restaurants,” said CMO and co-owner Jennifer Meissner. “Two of our company pillars are quality and consistency. We work hard to make sure every customer and every account that carries our beers receives the freshest and highest quality product we can possibly offer. We also have programs in place to guarantee consistency in product and flavor.”

The name comes from “The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows” by John Koenig, which defines sonder as “the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own.” In other words, each person is uniquely crafted, as is each of Sonder Brewing’s beers.

Some of the house-brewed options include lagers, stouts, barrel-aged beers, and a hard seltzer line called Sequel. The Gold Series boasts such interesting flavors as 1948 Fruit Stand, a Kölsch with coconut, orange, and pineapple flavors; Puffier Coat, a s’mores stout; Mexican Hot Chocolate Otto, a tiramisu stout with chilis and spices; Strawberry Funnel Cake Ale, a collaboration with Kings Island; and Root Beer Float Ale, a collaboration with the Root Beer Stand in Sharonville.

Sonder also sells bourbon, wine and non-alcoholic beer, and it partners with BrewRiver to serve Creole-inspired food.

Sonder Brewing is also set apart from other breweries by its Givin’ on a Prayer program, which Meissner describes as an “outward showing of our commitment to community.” Each month, Sonder Brewing selects a local nonprofit organization to highlight, then chooses a beer and donates 10 percent of the sales from that beer in the Mason taproom to that nonprofit.

Sonder Brewing has worked with Shine Like Sable, ALS Association, Dragonfly Foundation, Women of Cincy, Cancer Support Community, Greater Project, Best Point, and Lindner Center of Hope, among others. In June, Givin’ on a Prayer has partnered with Love Like JJ, an organization committed to helping children in a number of ways, such as donating books to Princeton City Schools, providing therapy dogs to Mason City Schools, and providing families with clothing, toys, food and household items.

Another Sonder Brewing item that sets it apart is its podcast, “Sonder Stories.” Inspired by president Justin Neff’s experience in broadcasting and the company principle that every person is uniquely crafted, Sonder Stories features the stories of the team and the beers.

“Our team and guests have had a lot of fun sharing the stories of Sonder,” Meissner said.

Like many businesses, Sonder Brewing has been dealing with issues such as supply chain constraints, rising costs and changes in consumer habits. But the team goes with the flow.

“We have learned to be flexible with our business model and evolve as needed to meet the consumer’s beer consumption behaviors,” Meissner said.

Despite the challenges, “our team has a commitment to serving each other and working together towards the common goal of helping this company grow and succeed. And through it all, beer is supposed to be fun, so we like to have a lot of fun, too.”

One new development is the installation of a small R&D brewing system that will allow Sonder Brewing to produce dozens of unique limited-release beers each year and will allow for more collaborations with other local businesses.

Sonder Brewing will also expand to the Cleveland area in spring and launch a new taproom, the Sonder Taphaus and Kitchen, in West Chester later this year. While still being family-friendly, the West Chester location is described as “more of an adult space,” with options for private parties and corporate reservations. The Sonder Taphaus will be located at Civic Center across from Topgolf and offer room for private parties and corporate reservations.

The Mason taproom is located at 8584 Duke Blvd. in Mason.

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