Tom Ayers and three of his buddies were all home craft brewers. They would meet to discuss the finer things in life – with beer mugs in hand, of course. Sharing a strong love for crafting, one of these friends, Brian, approached Ayers about starting a brewery. During a planning stage that lasted one year, the four agreed they wanted to keep their day jobs until Ill Mannered Brewery was firmly established.
The entrepreneurs realized they needed some financial help, so they raised much-needed funds with an exclusive event that also provided a unique opportunity to recognize contributors. Partnering with a local glass blower, each event attendee was treated to a one-of-a-kind glass mug and to their first Ill Mannered drink for free. The mugs are now proudly displayed in the brewery for members of the “Groundbreakers Club” to easily find and use each time they visit.
Ill Mannered Brewery debuted in Powell, Ohio in September 2015. Since then, they’ve had 60 different blends with 30 of the more popular brews being featured in the summer months. Ayers said they take a lot of pride in their seasonal brewing efforts. “In the summer we focus on pales and blonde shandies. We use the winter months to really experiment with flavors such as darks and barleywines,” he said.
They’ve become well known for giving memorable names to their brews. Their flagship drink – a fruity, well balanced IPA called “Powell, Right in the Kisser” – quickly became a crowd favorite. Ayers admitted that he has a harder time deciding his personal favorite. “I like all of them; they are like your children,” Ayers said. “It’s hard to pick a favorite but I’m slightly partial to a Belgian we named ‘Fat Bottomed Girl.’”
The response to their brewery was so overwhelming that after six months, Ayers began working for Ill Mannered full-time as the Chief Mad Man & Head Brewer. It didn’t take long for them to realize their 1,000 sq ft space was too small. By May 2016, they were looking for a new home but couldn’t find anything that met their needs. In passing, their current landlord mentioned wanting to build on the green space near the existing structure. The guys jumped on his offer and began planning their expansion.
The expansion is taking longer to complete because of permits, planning and zoning boards. But a shovel and about 40 of their biggest fans witnessed the groundbreaking of Ill Mannered Brewery’s latest 3,000 sq ft project this year in February.
Ayers is excited by the growth potential they’ll have thanks to the Polycast 600 drain system being installed. “Our current set up is terrible. It’s plastic, cracked, isn’t sloped very well and drains very slow,” Ayers lamented. “This new system has a ‘U’ set up that allows all of the fermenters to face inwards without slowing down production. Not only will it speed up our current production but there’s plenty of room for growth.”
Polycast 600 was selected by Don Kirkham from Kirkham Building Solutions, Inc. He had searched online and found that Trench Drain Systems provided the most information about draining solutions for the brewing industry. He was pleased to find that there was a more economical choice for drainage channels with Polycast compared to stainless steel.
Polycast is a unique blend of vinyl ester resin and concrete that make it perfect for the brewing industry. When making craft beers, there is a lot of heat and chemicals involved in the brewing process. You need a drain that can hold up to the harsh conditions. Other materials can break down, crack or even melt due to the high temperatures of the runoff.
Chris Lawler and Blake Tayerle from Emergency Plumbing Service installed the channel. Although they’d not used a suspended trench drain before, the installers completed the drain installation in preparation for the next two phases: a first concrete pour to keep the channel stabilized and a second to complete the floor. The duo installed a total of 40’ when it was all said and done. “It’s a pretty stout system,” Lawler said.
Cramped quarters meant that Ill Mannered Brewery only had production space for 400 barrels of their equipment’s 500-barrel capacity. Though production will slow as operations move between the two facilities, Ayers says that once they are up and running in August he anticipates hitting the 500 barrel-mark this year with the potential to double that in the next two years.