How 4KD Crick Brewing is Building a Consumer Base From Scratch

Across the U.S., small towns are seeing an influx of craft beer. That craft beer isn’t coming in the form of brands from across the country or even across the state. Consumers are now finding local craft beer from right in their own hometown.

Located on the grounds of the Eagle Rock Golf Club in the small Ohio town of Defiance, 4KD Crick Brewing opened this past fall. Now the goal is to educate its populace, and capitalize on its location while building a base of consumers.

“I can name 10-15 people that work at the GM plant over there and they have gone from Bud Light to IPAs,” said head brewer Ozzy Finnegan. “It’s a process and it’s always going to be.”

The golf course’s owner, Gary Cooper, has sunk money into making the former pro shop next to the clubhouse into a taproom and so far it’s been a hit said Finnegan.

“Next summer for golf will be huge,” he said. “We caught the tail end of the season when we opened and packed the tap house almost every night.”

Local events, party planning and expanded distribution to local bars in the town of around 17,000 people are also in the plan for 4KD Crick (pronounced Forked Crick).

The brewery, which has a 3.5-barrel brewhouse with six fermentors and 12 taps, serves as an offshoot from the golf course’s Sweetwater Chophouse restaurant, which also has four taps dedicated to the brewery’s products.

Out of towners get sent here for high-end food, Finnegan said.

“We can be a nightcap and they can take a growler or 16-ounce crowler home,” he said. “Those can go on the golf course as well.”

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Finnegan hopes that a mug club will help introduce locals to craft beer as well. Many beers the brewery has are “gateway” beers to help build a culture to the Northwest Ohio town that is still in its infancy to craft beer.

“It’s a process,” admitted Finnegan, who prior to brewing for the brewery had no formal training, yet said he did spend a lot of time communicating with brewer friends while living close to Great Divide Brewing. “Eventually I would like to step up to beer classes, but we need to start slow and build up steam.”

For now, having a small staff helps in costs. Finnegan, who works along with two bartenders in the taproom, brews two batches per week and will do the distributing of kegs to beer bars within an hour’s drive radius to help spread the word that 4KD Crick is open for business.

“It’s a work in progress,” Finnegan said. “Gary knew I was passionate … and we have hit the ground running.”

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