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Akronym craft brewery to open in downtown Akron

RICHARD WEINER
Legal News Reporter

Published: February 27, 2018

A new craft brewery is coming to downtown Akron that the owners say reflects their commitment to the city of Akron.

Akronym Brewing will rent space from the city in the parking garage at 58 E. Market St. The new microbrewing company and taproom will be open in a few weeks, according to manager Joshua Blubaugh, one of four founders of the business.

Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan welcomed the new brewery to town, saying “Akronym Brewing will be a welcome addition to downtown’s vibrant historic district.  This homegrown brewery will bring eight new jobs to Akron and activate a unique retail space on the street level of the city’s High Street parking deck, which has remained vacant and unfinished since the deck’s construction nearly 15 years ago.”

Akronym has leased about 440 square feet of space to hold their 10pbarrel system, said Blubaugh.

The tasting room will include an outdoor patio right on Market Sreet and a modern, concrete-and-wood interior that follows along with the local style set by Cleveland’s Butcher and Brewer.

The tasting room will not have the space to install a kitchen, but said that they expect food trucks to appear, and also noted that the brewery will be within walking distance of the restaurants in the north downtown area.

Akronym joins a number of Akron and Summit County microbreweries, including Hoppin Frog, Thirsty Dog, Aqueduct, Two Monks, Mucky Duck, R. Shea, HiHo and Magic City.

Blubaugh said that his brewery has its sights set on being among the best in the area, or anywhere.

“We want to make high-end beer,” he said.

The styles of beer will start with the basics, like a “clean” pilsner, New England-style IPA’s (think Heady Topper, said Blubaugh), IPL’s and lagers, and then they will adjust from there.

“We will try to make beers that people coming through the doors will like, but we aren’t trying purposely to make anything but good beer.”

A dive into the advanced analytics of craft brewing shows that Akronym is catching a business wave in the state and country, several studies have noted.

According to the Brewer’s Association, while overall U.S. beer sales were flat in 2016, sales of craft beers were up over 6 percent.

These small breweries totaled more than 12 percent of total beer sales.

In defining what a “craft brewery is, the Brewers Association (www.brewersassociation.org) defines the term as a brewery having three characteristics: production of fewer than 6 million barrels per year; 75 percent or more owned by a craft brewer and alcohol content derived from the brewing process itself.

Ohio has had strong growth in microbrewery production, increasing over 40 percent in the last five years, according to Vinepair (https://vinepair.com/maps-american-craft-beer-data-2017).

Ohio overall ranks 12th in number of craft breweries with over 175, but fourth overall in beer production by barrel.

Almost a third of those breweries are local to this area.

According to the Ohio Craft Brewers Association website, there are over 35 craft breweries in Northeast Ohio outside of Cleveland (and about 20 more in Cleveland; http://www.ohiocraftbeer.org/ohio-breweries/).

Like many start-ups, the crew working on Akronym is composed mainly of friends and family.

Blubaugh and head brewer Shawn Adams grew up together on large farms in Danville, a town of 1,000 in Knox County.

Now, both 43, they attended the University of Akron together.

Blubaugh works in IT, and Adams is an Akron firefighter. They have two other partners and are self-funding the project.

The build-out is being designed and funded by Akronym, using all local materials and builders.

“We are doing it the right way,” said Blubaugh.

That local approach will apply to purchasing brewery supplies to the extent possible, he said.

“There are just not enough Ohio-grown hops to supply the Ohio breweries,” he noted.

A large community table will be built from a 17-foot piece of a 250-year-old tree that was struck by lightning on Adams’ property.

Blubaugh said that the company’s connections to the city of Akron, from the name Akronym to the lease from the city, cause him particular pride.

“We are really happy to be working with the city and the Downtown Akron Partnership,” he said.

Blubaugh said that it took some time to strike the right deal with the city, but “I was a really happy guy when Mayor Horrigan signed that lease.”

Look for the grand opening of Akron’s newest brewery in the coming weeks.


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