After 117 years with no breweries, Owensboro is about to get its second brewery this year.
Scott Shreffler, one of four partners in Louisville’s Mile Wide Beer Co., said the company hopes to open its taproom and brewery in the former CYO Brewing location at 119 E. Second St. during the first week of November.
He was in town this week to interview bartenders.
“We’ll have four or five bartenders to start,” Shreffler said. “Once events can happen again, we’ll hire more people for outside events like Friday After 5 and music festivals.”
The city recently approved an open container ordinance that allows people to carry open containers of alcoholic beverages as they walk around downtown on weekends.
“That helps us a lot,” Shreffler said.
He said the company hopes to begin brewing beer in Owensboro “as soon as possible.”
Shreffler said, “We’ll probably brew two barrels at a time a couple of times a month here.”
Each barrel holds 31 gallons of beer.
He said, “We want to make some fun off-the-wall beers that will be exclusive to Owensboro.”
Mile Wide will have 15 to 20 craft beers that were brewed in Louisville on tap in Owensboro.
“But we have 28 taps here,” Shreffler said.
That leaves plenty of room for Louisville-brewed and Owensboro-brewed beer.
The local taproom has seating for 125.
But the pandemic limits that to 50%.
“That’s 62 or 63 people,” Shreffler said. “That’s doable.”
He said, “People have told us Owensboro wants live music. We’ll probably be doing that eventually.”
Shreffler said, “We’ll have meals at some point. But right now, we’re talking with Mellow Mushroom and other places about delivering food here.”
Louisville has a Beer Trail, much like the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, that promotes the craft breweries there.
Cory Greene is moving from Paducah to Owensboro to manage the local taproom.
He said western Kentucky brewers have been talking about a western Kentucky trail that would include breweries in Paducah, Henderson, Hopkinsville, Beaver Dam, Owensboro and other cities.
Shreffler said the company took its name from the Ohio River, which is a mile wide west of downtown Louisville.
“It’s great that Owensboro is on the Ohio too,” he said.
Drew Mitchell spent five years trying to get a brewing license at CYO.
He finally called it quits in December.
“He laid some nice groundwork for us,” Shreffler said. “All we had to do was paint and hang artwork.”
Brew Bridge Brewery, the city’s first brewery since 1903, opened July 10 in a former nightclub at 800 W. Second St.
The Washington Post reported recently, “With more than 6,300 breweries operating in the United States in 2017, small and independent brewers represented nearly 13% of the market share by volume of the overall beer industry. Craft brewers produced 25.4 million barrels in 2017, with an estimated $26 billion retail value, according to the Brewers Association.”
But the pandemic hurt the industry like it did most other businesses.
Brewbound.com reported recently that the Brewers Association found that craft beer volumes “have declined around 10% through the first half of 2020.”
Shreffler said Mile Wide’s package sales have grown during the pandemic while tap sales declined.
Keith Lawrence 270-691-7301 firstname.lastname@example.org