Lineage Brewing occupies a building that formerly housed a combination car wash and dog wash -- but Clintonville must prefer this kind of suds.

Lineage Brewing occupies a building that formerly housed a combination car wash and dog wash -- but Clintonville must prefer this kind of suds.

The brewery is the Clintonville Area Chamber of Commerce's 2016 Business of the Year.

"We were thrilled," said Jessica Byrne, one of the owners of the enterprise, which won't celebrate its first anniversary of operation until March 28.

Byrne, the business and marketing manager for Lineage, owns the place with her husband, brewery operations manager Mike Byrne, and another Clintonville couple, Carey Hall and Jessica Page. Hall is the assistant brewer, while Page holds the lofty title of beer librarian.

Lineage Brewing was nominated for the Business of the Year honor by Judy Robinson.

"For being a new, young business in the city, they have really hopped in," Robinson said last week, no pun likely intended. "They are part of so much of what we are about. It seems like every time there's been some kind of give-back to the community, Lineage Brewing has been right there. They have stepped up to the plate to show what Clintonville is really all about."

"It's amazing when we haven't been open a year yet and to be recognized was phenomenal," said Jessica Byrne, who has a day job with McGraw Hill.

"It's really fun to share your passion with people and see them enjoy what you're doing," added Mike Byrne, whose full-time job is at Lineage.

What began practically on a whim a decade ago became a dream that is now reality, he said. He and his wife were out with another couple at a watering hole in the Short North and they all jokingly kicked around the notion of one day opening a craft brewery.

"We didn't know anything about it," he said.

One home-brew kit later -- the only one the Byrnes ever used -- and he was hooked.

"I just went nuts with it," Mike Byrne said.

After spending three years working for Buckeye Lake Brewery, the idea of owning a craft brewery -- and in their neighborhood of Clintonville -- became even more of a fixation.

Even after joining forces with Page and Hall, the concept faced the same problem that comes before many who would launch an enterprise in Clintonville: Where?

"We were at this process for so long," Mike Byrne said after five other locations fell through.

"It wasn't easy to find something that was wet and had the right square footage and didn't need to be completely gutted," Jessica Byrne recalled. "Really, just connecting with other people in the neighborhood landed us with learning that building was going to be available."

The name Lineage stems from the long gestation period for the craft brewery, as well as being inspired by the reuse of the old building and much of the brewing equipment, Mike Byrne said.

"It just seemed to fit what we were doing here," he added.

"Lineage Brewing was founded with a simple purpose: create a welcoming social atmosphere where friends can gather and learn about high-quality beer," reads the company's website.

"Like many great discoveries, it was founded in neighborhood Clintonville garages, where homebrew flowed and hops grew up backyard trellises. When creativity, aspirations and equipment got a little too large for our tiny garages, the inevitable craft brewery was born.

"We continue to be grounded in family, friends, beer education and the quest for the ever-perfect pint."

Other recent winners of the chamber's Business of the Year award include Lavash Cafe, Northstar Cafe, Donatos Pizza, Crimson Cup Coffee & Tea, and Mozart's Restaurant, Bakery and Piano Cafe.

Lineage Brewing will be honored, along with Businessperson of the Year Kevin Johnson of Music Go Round and the ThisWeek Booster Volunteer of the Year, during the chamber's Celebrate Clintonville awards dinner and auction fundraiser, set for 6 p.m. March 4 at the Clintonville Woman's Club, 3951 N. High St.