An interview with Owner, Rich Hennosy
How long have you been open?
We opened on February 5, 2012. Super Bowl Sunday and no television (we since have added a tv). The pub was packed until 5:00 pm, then by 6:00 it was empty as customers headed for their television sets. It was a great day.
What made you decide to open a brewery?
I was working in Graphic Production field for over 20 years and had seen technology take over to the point where just about anyone with a computer could do my job. It just didn't require the expertise that it used to take graphics to print. It was time to find another career. While browsing the internet one night, I came across the probrewer.com website. I was transfixed on the site and its forum for three days. Seeing how brewers were helping other brewers by answering questions and providing advice, made me realize that this was a field that needed to be explored further. Another internet search on "how to open your own brewery" brought up the Colorado Boy Brewery Immersion Course for aspiring brewers. I took the 5 day class in Ridgeway, Colorado a couple of months later. In just a few hours I knew I was on to something. I struck up a friendship with Tom Hennessey, owner of Colorado Boy and instructor of the class. Tom became a my mentor and advised me on all aspects of opening the brewery. It took about 1 1/2 years after the class to get the doors open.
Why did you choose to open in Buckeye Lake?
I was immediately reminded of Buckeye Lake while in Ridgeway for the class. Ridgeway is similar in that it is a small town with summer tourism only they have hot springs in the area. Buckeye Lake, while small was 3 times the size of Ridgeway and was much closer to a major metropiltan area. Besides that, the area was void of an outlet for fresh beer. Buckeye Lake had the potential for being a great brand. A lot of people have a soft spot for Buckeye Lake as so many have experienced it for a weekend or two at some point in their lives. Also by using our location in our name, it would be easy for customers to find us.
What is your philosphy on beer?
I never wanted to reinvent beer. I just wanted to provide the Buckeye Lake area with a source for fresh beers that are brewed to style. Since opening we have changed that philosphy just a bit. We have found that craft beer drinkers love to try everything. We have experimented with our casks and will continue to experiment with ingredients a bit more, without abandoning our traditional styles that our customers love so much.
Tell us about the names of your beers.
This is probably my favorite part of the job. Most of the names have some connection to Buckeye Lake's present or past.
Shovelhead® is the name of our 2x IPA. At 8.3% ABV it was our biggest beer at the time we introduced it. It needed a big name, so I researched big fish that are in Buckeye Lake. Shovelhead is a 50 lb. catfish and according to an Ohio fishing book there are some in Buckeye Lake.
Hennosy's Irish Red is a tribute to my dad who had a cottage at Buckeye Lake in the 1960's and he used to bring us to Fireman's Park in the 70's. My brothers and sisters and I aspired to purchase dad's old cottage in the 90's. It didn't happen, but we did get another place on the water nearby and so we followed in our father's footsteps. Dad kept a kegerator in our kitchen growing up, so I inherited his love of beer.
"Bang and Go Back" was the name of the boat race on Decoration Day. The photo on the bottle is from 1931. The racers were instructed to set their throttle at the beginning of the race and not adjust it during the race. At the sound of the gun, they turned around and headed back to the start. The boats with the slowest throttle setting were in the lead, but the boats with the throttles set high were catching fast. It seemed like the perfect name for our Black IPA.
In 2014 we went to the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, Colorado. Numerous people came up to our table in the convention center and told me they had been to Buckeye Lake. They all had named a concert that they had seen at the Legend Valley Music Center about 1 mile from Buckeye Lake's shores. Grateful Dead and Jimmy Buffett were the most poplar. Buckeye Lake and Legend Valley had become synonomous to many people. I went back to my hotel that night and wrote the owner of the music center asking for permission to name our IPA as "Legend Valley IPA". He said yes and provided us with the great photo used on the label. Everyone asks who the guy is on the stage. He was the stage announcer for that show in the 1970's.