A newly-launched event during Marietta’s annual Rivers, Trails, and Ales Festival is the RTA Beer Fest. Back for its 2nd year, RTA Beer Fest will feature over 15 regional breweries, a variety of local food trucks, live music, activities for the kiddos, and much more.

The first year of RTA Beer Fest packed 300 locals and festival-goers into East Muskingum Park to taste 42 beers available from 12 regional breweries. This year, 500 ticket holders will have the opportunity to choose from over 50 beers available from 15 breweries; the growth is an indication of the level of excitement produced by those passionate about support small business, local brewers, and unique community-based events like this one.

In celebration of good beer and great fun, Clutch MOV has partnered with the Rivers, Trails and Ales Festival to spotlight the 2019 lineup of participating Beer Fest breweries.

Brewery: Taft’s Brewing Co.

Location: Cincinnati, OH

Interviewer: Jeremy Stackpole, RTA Ales Director, with questions provided by Gavin Fury

Interviewee: Erin Weinert, Marketing Director, Taft’s Brewing Co.

When did Taft’s Brewing Company open? Taft’s Brewing Company was founded in April 2015 through the creation of Taft’s Ale House. The founders of Taft’s partnered with the Cincinnati Center City Development Corp (3CDC) to create the brewery and restaurant located in the Over-the-Rhine district of Cincinnati. The three-story Ale House resides in a renovated historic church originally built in 1850 and offers premium tri-tip steak fare in a beautifully designed space.

In 2017, Taft’s team’s passion for making high-quality craft beer led to the creation of a production brewery and taproom, Taft’s Brewpourium. The building is located 10 minutes north of Taft’s Ale House in Spring Grove Village. The 50,000 square foot facility is home to high volume brewing and beer kegging, canning and packaging. The Brewpourium tap room offers guests roughly 15 of Taft’s Brewing Co.’s finest house created brews as well as New Haven coal-fired pizza. We’re opening up our third location in Columbus, currently planned for November 2019. Taft’s beers can also be found in bars, restaurants, grocery stores, and other outlets throughout the region.

How has the combination of history and legend, embodied by your namesake Young Billy Taft, shaped both your aesthetic and the practical aspects of your business? As many know the rumor of President Taft getting stuck in a bathtub – we use that to embody the fun behind the brand. While we take our products seriously, as he did as President, we don’t take ourselves too seriously, like the rumor of Taft getting stuck in a tub. We like to provide our fans with unique experiences, whether that’s in beer (wide varieties, always putting something new on draft or in a can), in food (offering unique food options you can’t get in Cincy or Ohio like tri-tip steak and New Haven pizza) or events (we offer a wide variety of events from bagels and beer pairings, to Dog Yoga, to kids movie nights and more- we even have our first Lock-In scheduled for August!).

For those unfamiliar, what is the distinction between the Ale House and Brewpourium? Is their purpose primarily to achieve different goals or provide more room for your growing following to enjoy your beer and food? We definitely are always aiming to provide unique experiences to our fans! The Ale House is more of a refined restaurant with upscale pub food, also serving up our delicious brews. Our Brewpourium location is more tap room style and relaxed – pizza and beer flowing, as well as lots of families and events!

Do you specialize in brewing any individual styles, regional styles, or families of styles? If so, what drew you to focus on them? We brew a wide variety of styles of beer in an aim to make something great for everyone’s tastes – and love using local products to brew when we can. We source our ingredients from all over the world, always on the hunt to create the best product possible. We’re on the pursuit of liquid perfection!

Which of your offerings are best sellers or customer favorites? Our two biggest favorites are Gavel Banger IPA and Nellie’s Key Lime Caribbean Ale. They even battled it out to win Cincinnati’s favorite craft beer this year as run by the Enquirer. Gavel Banger IPA is an American IPA brewed and dry hopped with heaps of Citra and Mosaic hops. Nellie’s Key Lime Caribbean Ale is an American wheat ale brewed with key lime juice straight from the islands with a hint of coriander. Both are available from us year-round in our taproom and in cans on the market.

You package a number of brands that see wide distribution across Ohio and into Kentucky. Is the next step to grow beyond those markets or are you content to focus on your home state? We love our local spots! We’re definitely happy to focus in on Ohio with extensions to nearby cities. We’re always looking towards the future though!

What draws you as a brewery to want to participate in RTA Beer Fest? We love this fest in particular because it’s a great ode to our home state! Ohio has so many incredible cities and communities, and this fest brings together some of the best parts of living in Ohio – beautiful scenic outdoors, committed, kind and dedicated locals and fun!

Do you plan to participate in any events other than the beer festival? Which ones? We participate in many festivals throughout the state year-round. We love having the opportunity to hang with those who love craft beer!

The 2nd annual RTA Beer Fest will take place on Saturday, August 10th from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. in East Muskingum Park on Front Street in downtown Marietta, OH. More information, including ticket sales, can be found by visiting www.rtafest.com.