I had the pleasure of meeting Tony Styer at a community event in Marietta, a little over a year ago. He seemed like a friendly guy, who while working at a vendor table for the Marietta Brewing Company, made sure to share some samples with us (over at the Clutch MOV table). It never occurred to me when meeting him that he (and his wife, Dana) owned the Marietta Brewing Company – one of the very best local brewpubs in the Mid-Ohio Valley.
Tony and Dana wanted to stay in Marietta to raise a family, and saw potential in helping to grow a community. “I want my children to grow up in a thriving small town, and to be proud of their hometown,” Tony said. As with everything I’ve seen in Tony’s life, his goals lie in helping the community grow – but not just for his only family’s pride and satisfaction. After years of the Styers operating restaurants, they saw something special in the Marietta Brewing Company, and dove in to learning brewing practices, while creating the great local favorite that we all love today.
Owner of the MBC since 2010, Tony has been committed to creating a space where everyone feels welcome to visit – whether it be a place to meet up with friends, to make new ones, to stop in for the well-known microbrews (which are rotated throughout the year – my favorite is the Smokehouse Porter) to drink the homemade root beer, to taste the variety of delicious food (reviews have rated the wings the best in the area), to have a go at the Thursday Trivia Nights, or check out the often free live music (or all of the above) – you won’t be disappointed.
“What I have enjoyed most about hosting live music is the wide diversity of musicians who have come through our doors. I enjoy watching the relationships that develop between these groups and the audience,” Tony told me when asking about some of the great music he’s had at the MBC. Often free to the public (no cover charge), The Marietta Brewing company hosts a wide variety of high-talent musical acts from all over the area – “A lot of the music we host here finds us. I get contacted by many acts, we try to keep it local/regional. Acts from Marietta, Parkersburg, Beverly, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Columbus etc,” he shares, have all come there to perform, and usually to a packed house.
I was curious about the motivation behind the “no cover charge” for music, “I find it very encouraging not to charge a cover for our live acts,” replied Tony. “It allows more people to come in and enjoy the music. Especially if you’re unsure you’ll like the music, you have nothing to lose this way. It’s a win/win for everyone. The artist, the venue and the consumer – we don’t ask for a cover because we’d rather you spend your money grabbing a drink or two.” And after checking out several of the “no cover” musical performances held there recently, I’m understanding his logic.
One of MBC’s favorite performers – an award-winning, bluesy, folky musician and singer/songwriter named Micah Kesselring was wonderful to meet and listen to. From the Columbus area, Micah was initially invited to perform at the Brewing Company after winning the Marietta Blues Challenge (hosted by the Blues, Jazz & Folk Society of the MOV). Micah has traveled the world over, and played with many heavy hitters in the jazz and blue world, and still says “it’s always kind of a party at the Marietta Brewing Company – more than most places I play. Whenever we come here, everybody’s usually having a good time.”
Want to check him out for yourself? Micah will be performing at Marietta’s Red, White & Brews Festival on July 1st – which is also heavily supported by the Marietta Brewing Company. And if you can’t wait ’til July, Micah has music available for purchase, through the web (and in hard copy). His next solo project CD will be available in the next few weeks.
Support from Tony, and the Marietta Brewing Company doesn’t stop at supporting local musicians (though over the past weekend, the MBC also hosted an awesome night of singer/songwriter heaven for the release of Corey Shields’ new CD, “Only Questions”). Tony also has hosted “Art on Tap” in the past, where a different local visual artist is featured and allowed to bring in their work in an open house atmosphere. There are talks of bringing this (or something like it) back to the brewpub, and I can’t wait for the next one.
In the meantime, there’s something stellar coming by way of the Marietta Brewing Company called “Community Pints”, beginning on May 6th. Every Friday from 2pm-7pm, $1 of every pint sold and $2 of every Growler fill sold will go towards an MBC-selected Non-Profit. The Marietta Brewing Company will partner with one 501(c) organization each month, and will give that non-profit a space to post info on their cause and how the community can get involved!
And as an overall, takeaway goal? “My goal for MBC is to continue to provide a quality product in an atmosphere that is welcoming and comfortable. MBC will continue to support our community and get involved where and when we can,” Tony said.
However you are a part of our community, Tony has a way of making you feel cared for and important, as does his staff. “I wanted a place where the doctor, lawyer, contractor, factory worker, student, artist – would all feel comfortable and welcome,” he shared. And from what I’ve experienced, and heard from many, many people, he’s doing a great job at just that.