Rock Bridge Brewing Breaks into Beer Business
COLUMBIA - The city of Columbia welcomed its first ever wholesale brewery Wednesday. Rock Bridge Brewing Company tapped its first business at Shakespeare's Pizza downtown.
The company separates itself from other local brewers like Flat Branch Pub & Brewing and Broadway Brewery because it wholesales beer. The latter two make and sell their own beer on the premises, while Rock Bridge Brewing makes its beer at its warehouse-turned-brewery and distributes it throughout Columbia.
"We are excited for this chance to finally introduce the mid-Missouri market to some great, new, locally-brewed craft beer," David Brouder, a founding partner and president of Rock Bridge Brewery, said in a news release.
Rock Bridge Brewing introduced its first three beers: the Cysquatch IPA, the Sif's Blonde, and the Farmer's Daughter Peppered Rye Saison at the launch event. Shakespeare's Pizza is the first Columbia business to have the beers on tap.
Eric Peterson, executive vice president and co-founder of the brewery, and Brouder both said they felt Columbia was overdue for a beer to call its own. They credited the growing tastes of local residents for accelerating their thought-process.
"There had been a lot of interest [in craft beer] sparked by the two brew houses in town. Flat Branch, which has been here for many years, and, more recently, Broadway Brewery," Peterson said. "We felt like they got people's interest in craft beer started, and we felt like we could expand on that."
Peterson also said their beer was a hit at the Missouri Beer Festival this past Saturday.
"Now, I realize we were giving away free beer, but we had a lot of people come back eight, ten, 12 times to our table to taste all three of our beers," he said. "We actually had some of the employees from the other vendors come over and taste it."
The company plans to distribute its beer to other local bars, as well as restaurants and grocery stores. Shiloh Bar & Grill, Bengals Bar & Grill, Bleu Restaurant & Wine Bar, 44 Stone Public House, and 1839 Taphouse are just some of the 12 local bars that will receive the brewery's beer.
Grand Cru Steaks and Seafood and Sycamore Restaurant will also carry the beer.
"When you go to your favorite local restaurant, you'll be able to enjoy a truly great beer," Peterson said.
The brewery is limiting its distribution to those 12 bars until the owners buy more equipment and find more space. The owners say they are planning to be on tap in more than 12 area businesses by the start of summer. The company also hopes to introduce two more beers before the summer as well.
If Rock Bridge Brewing has success in Columbia, the company plans to expand its business throughout Missouri. Peterson said some businesses in Jefferson City, St. Louis, Kansas City, Lake of the Ozarks, and even Iowa City, Iowa have already expressed interest in their beers.