Barge Brewing Company to open in downtown Medina in 2016

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 November 2015 at 12:00 am

Jeremy Hogan, owner of O’Brien’s, leading effort for micro-brewery on Main Street

Jeremy Hogan

MEDINA – The owner of O’Brien’s is working to open a new micro-brewery in downtown Medina. Jeremy Hogan said he is establishing the Barge Brewing Company on North Main Street.

The new business will be located in the Zambito Realtors building, next to NAPA Auto Parts. The brewery will have a Main Street storefront and will back up to the canal and have access in the Canal Basin for boaters.

Hogan expects the business will be ready for a “soft opening” in March, and will be ready for bigger crowds and bus tours in May.

He has already begun work on converting the space, which once was a bowling alley. It will become a tasting cellar, production area and retail store for beer and merchandise.

“This is a project I’ve been working on for quite some time, and I’m glad to say the time is finally right and the pieces have all fallen into place,” Hogan said.

He has owned O’Brien’s, a tavern on Main Street, the past four years. Hogan also worked in the software and information technology industries before returning to his hometown of Medina. He plans to keep O’Brien’s open, with the sites as complimentary businesses.

“There’s no doubt that craft beer is experiencing a boom such that the average American lives within 5 miles of a brewery,” Hogan said. “That kind of saturation might indicate the movement has topped out, but the trend we see is in smaller batches and a hyper local experience, more of a nano brewery.”

Hogan has been a home brewer. He will bring in master brewers to create the beer at the Barge Brewing Company.

“We create a large scope of beers rather than focusing on scaling one flagship recipe that is mass marketed and mass produced,” he said. “I know from my experience running a tavern that there is no shortage of beer enthusiasts and an ever-growing connoisseurship of craft beer drinkers.”

Each of the recipes has a bit of Medina in its foundation, from sourcing local ingredients to highlighting and celebrating the local heritage and famous visitors, Hogan said.

He plans to offer a standard American Pale Ale called Barge Beer; a highly hopped, higher alcohol double IPA called The Muleskinner; a seasonal Bock that honors John Steinbeck’s visit to Medina called Steinbock; a raspberry infused ale named for Medina’s first lady (Frances Folsom who married U.S. President Grover Cleveland) called Framboise Folsom; a grog-inspired ale in tribute to a pirate known to frequent the Great Lakes called Skull Dugger.

Hogan also plans to offer a milk chocolate stout, a vanilla bourbon porter, a cherry lime shandy and other brews.

“That’s the main benefit of doing smaller batches,” he said. “We can release anything that suits the season or strikes our fancy.”

Hogan has reached out to locals in the industry. Hogan said Barge Brewing is working on a cask-conditioned barleywine in partnership with Jonathan Oakes of Leonard Oakes Winery and a mead-based beer called a “braggot” with Bryan DeGraw of 810 Meadworks.

There will also be a menu created in part with J.J. Heideman of Bad Ash BBQ and an exclusive catering agreement with Zambistro for parties and events. Hogan is also developing custom beers for Zambistro and Bad Ash, as well as a Stout and Irish Red that will be available exclusively at O’Brien’s.

Mayor Andrew Meier said Barge Brewing will be an exciting addition to the downtown, drawing customers that should visit other local businesses.

“Jeremy’s business concept is fresh and inspired,” Meier said. “Medina’s emerging craft beverage scene will benefit from the uniqueness of Barge Brewing’s nano-brewery model. This new business will help Medina emerge as a standout food and beverage destination in WNY.”

The Village of Medina became more winery and brewery friendly last year with the creation of code variances to allow for that type of industry in the historic downtown area.