John Loftis holds up a glass of Mother Stewarts beer to the light Friday in their brew house. Mother Stewart’s has won a national ranking for being in the top new breweries last year. Bill Lackey/Staff

Springfield brewery receives national recognition

Springfield’s only brewery is getting recognition after a national publication named the business one of the 34 best new breweries in the U.S.

Beer Advocate, a website and magazine that focuses on the brewing industry, named Mother Stewart’s Brewing Co. one of the top breweries in the U.S. that opened last year. The magazine picked Mother Stewart’s as one of the 34 best new breweries out of 861 new breweries that opened last year. It highlighted Mother Stewart’s 9,000-square-foot outdoor patio as one of the factors that set it apart from its peers.

“Named after Springfield temperance advocate Eliza Daniel ‘Mother’ Stewart, the end result is a place for mom and dad to enjoy a great beer on the patio while watching the kids play in the backyard — Mother Stewart’s backyard, that is,” the article states.

Mother Stewart’s, 109 W. North St. in Springfield, opened in July last year in the former Metallic Casket Co. campus. The property also includes an outdoor beer garden, and decorations and artwork from Springfield artists throughout the 8,500- square-foot taproom. Local officials have said the roughly $2.5 million project is a key piece of recent efforts to revitalize downtown Springfield.

Recognition in the national publication won’t necessarily mean a big boost in business, said Kevin Loftis, one of the brewery’s founders. But it is a credit to the business’ staff and shows the brewery is doing something right, he said.

“It’s great to be recognized for the efforts,” Loftis said. “It says a lot about the crew we’ve got.”

The brewery focuses on beers that can appeal to a wide variety of customers, and started with four beers including a German wheat beer and a Belgian ale. It has since expanded its selection and also serves a root beer.

Loftis said there are now eight beers on tap, and there are plans to brew additional varieties like an Irish red in the spring. The next step, he said, will be to serve beer in more locations in the region over the next three months. The brewery is also increasingly hosting live music and other events to draw more regular customers, which he said is key in an increasingly crowded craft beer market.

“We want them here and so as a result we need to give them a reason to come back,” Loftis said of customers.

The recognition in Beer Advocate is a good sign that the venue offers a unique experience where customers can try new beers, Loftis said. The Ohio Craft Brewer’s Association noted the state added close to 40 new breweries in 2015 alone, and the industry continues to grow. To stand out, it’s important to offer good beer and a venue customers can’t easily find elsewhere.

Beer drinkers in the Miami Valley have more options than ever when looking for craft beer.

“As they’ve been to each one around Dayton for example, they’re going to default to the ones that are fun to be at,” Loftis said.

One good sign is that although it’s been open for several months, as much as 60 to 70 percent of the brewery’s business are new customers, Loftis said.

“Where we stand out is the environment and atmosphere of this building and this property,” Loftis said.

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