North Water Brewing Co., an environmentally focused and community-driven craft beer brewery, plans to open this fall at 101 Crain Ave. in Kent, Ohio.
Part owner Don Schjeldahl is one of five founders who own 51 percent of the business, among other growing investors who fund the remaining 49 percent.
Schjeldahl moved to Kent in 1981 to attend graduate school at Kent State University and worked on his doctorate for three years, during which time he said he fell in love with the city. He then started working for a company in Cleveland for 30 years as a business consultant, in which he traveled the world and worked on hundreds of projects. Through this, he began working for Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., helping to locate a new brewery in Asheville, North Carolina in 2013.
“I learned a lot about the craft beer industry and I learned a lot about community engagement with brewers,” said Schjeldahl.
In 2015, Schjeldahl moved back to Kent and has been working on opening a brewery for the past five years, finally purchasing the Crain Avenue building in January of this year with the other founders.
This location will offer six types of beers to start off with: IPA, Hefeweizen, rye, hazy, stout, and porter. In addition, they will offer a rotating selection of one or two local guest beers along with wine, soft drinks and coffee. Food will not be served at the location; however, North Water Brewing Co. will be partnering with local restaurants to be delivered or picked up by customers and enjoyed with their drinks.
“We want to focus on making good beer and keeping a nice friendly community taproom environment,” said Schjeldahl.
Schjeldahl as of now plans to open the brewery September 4, which is Labor Day weekend.
“We’re rolling the dice that Coronavirus will be behind us, at least to some degree,” said Schjeldahl.
At the location, there will be a patio that will feature a fire pit and heat lamps for colder weather.
Since starting construction, there have been delays, but now construction has been accelerated through local Metis Construction Services, and these renovations should be finished by late August. Much of the original building material that was ripped out will be incorporated in the final construction, as well as non toxic floor finishes and paints.
“Our brand is very much built around outdoor environment and community sustainability,” said Schjeldahl.
Schjeldahl wants to make sure that artists and musicians can be featured at the location, including a dedicated wall space for rotating art exhibits for local artists to feature and sell their work as well as local musicians performing all genres: folk, blues, jazz and more.
“It’s not going to be a college bar, it’s not going to be a loud rock and roll bar,” said Schjeldahl. “It’s going to be a place where people can come, really hang out and talk about the good things of life and how we can all work together.”
Gina Schlegel covers downtown and construction. Contact her at email@example.com.