Profiling leaders of the pack
By Sam Ujvary
Nestled in central Ohio near the Hocking River, Lancaster's Rockmill Brewery rests on 11 acres of land that was once a farm. The grandson of an Ohio winemaker, Matthew Barbee founded the brewery four years ago. Rockmill is lucky enough to have a natural spring on its property, so they take the water used in their beers straight from the ground. I caught up with Phil Blundred, brewer at Rockmill, to find out a little more about the company.
Tell me a little about the brewery. The Brewery was founded in September, 2010. We hold Brewery tours on the weekends during our tasting room hours. Our tours are a bit impromptu. We ask our tasting room patrons if they would like to see our operation, and if enough people say yes, grab a beer and lets take a tour! Not having a food license, we encourage people to bring their own picnic, relax, and enjoy the property. We have an excellent relationship with well respected delis and specialty grocery stores in Columbus that will help guide our patrons in choosing the proper food pairing to accompany our beers. We host music events for both local and traveling artists from all over the world. Beer release gatherings, weddings and smaller events to groups that rent the space for private parties.
How long have you been brewing beer and how did you get into it? I've been brewing and distilling professionally for almost 5 years, and started with Rockmill in August of 2013. I was part of an apprenticeship with Middle West Spirits for 6 months when I first started in the alcohol production trade in late 2009, early 2010. For a couple years following, I operated as head of production and 2nd Distiller until late 2012. I later continued my career as a distiller in Kansas City, Missouri for one year until I was offered a position as a brewer with Rockmill.
How many brews do you have? Where do you distribute? We currently have Five beers that are offered year round. All the beers are Belgian style, and we do offer seasonal beers as well as limited release and collaboration beers with other local breweries. The mineral content of the well in which we use to brew is ideal for Belgian style ales, so we won't stray from this particular style of beer. Our distribution spans the state of Ohio, Northern Kentucky, and New York City, with more to come.
To find out more about the beer, the history, and the breathtaking scenery, visit the Rockmill Brewery website. You can also follow them on Instagram.