What began as a hobby nearly a decade ago now is becoming a business for a Worthington resident who crafts, markets and distributes about 450 gallons of beer a month.
Craig O’Herron, 30, is owner, operator and brewer of Sideswipe Brewing, a nanobrewery tucked in a warehouse district on Scioto Harper Drive in west Columbus near Grandview Heights.
“Brewing has been a passion of mine (for nine years) and I’m excited to be doing this as a business,” O’Herron said.
O’Herron got his start almost by chance.
“I stumbled across a make-your-own-beer kit in a store and said, ‘I got to try that,’ ” O’Herron said.
At first, like other home-based brewers, O’Herron made small batches for family and friends. But as his expertise grew, so did demand as word of his brews spread.
“More and more people told me how much they enjoyed it (and) about three years ago I began working on a business plan,” he said.
With the help of an investor and a total investment of a little less than $100,000, O’Herron scouted a location, purchased the required equipment and completed the paperwork needed to open his nanobrewery.
The name Sideswipe Brewery is derived from another hobby of O’Herron’s: kickboxing.
O’Herron practices kickboxing and Brazilian jiu-jitsu and chose the name and a logo that illustrates “an unexpected hit,” he said.
The three styles of beer O’Herron currently crafts are named in a similar fashion: Elegant Hoodlum Smoke Stout, Fisticuffs IPA and Coop Looter Saison.
For now, the 22-ounce bottled beers are available only at select retail outlets and taverns.
“By summer, I hope to have a tasting room built (at the brewery),” O’Herron said.
Prior to opening Sideswipe Brewing, O’Herron worked in the restaurant industry and spent two years as an English instructor at schools in South Korea and Thailand.
He continues to work on a limited basis as a bartender and banquet server, but most of his time and attention is directed to Sideswipe Brewing.
While there are stages when he is waiting out fermentation, “There is something to do every day,” O’Herron said.
For locations where Sideswipe Brewing products are available, visit sideswipebrewing.com.