Creativity Drives Barrel Room Expansion for Rivertown Brewery

Experimentation has been a key driver for Rivertown Brewery. The Cincinnati, Ohio area brewery, which opened in 2009, is expanding and moving its base of operations to further that experimentive attitude toward sours and barrel-aged ales.

Located in Lockland, Ohio, the brewery will max out operations at 20,000 barrels, and the barrel room is tight as it is for its creations. Founder Jason Roeper announced nearly a year ago the facility would move its production beers up the road to Monroe, Ohio. That’s where the bottled beers will be made and an expansive space gives more room to increase the brewery’s barrel room and give the brewery a chance to add outdoor fermentation on its eight acres of land it purchased in late 2015.

“We really look forward to having the square footage in Monroe to accommodate more sour barrels & foeders which will allow us to produce more of our core barrel-aged sour lineup: Lambic, Ojos Negros, Ville de Rivere Geuze and Old Sour Cherry Porter,” Roeper said.

The brewery also will enjoy being able to have the space to experiment with different processes and flavors while using the original site in Lockland to further work with experimentation.


The foeder used by Rivertown is a plastic Solera foeder. It started at 50 gallons and has constantly increased in size along with the brewery. Although most foeders are made of wood, Roeper said that the plastic is permeable, so oxygen can still seep in at a slow rate.

“It has been an integral piece along with our bacterias, in our line safe sour program which includes Divergent, Soulless & Nice Melons,” Roeper said.

As more breweries come online, barrels are actually more difficult to come by, Roeper said.

“‘Back in the day’ it was easy to order and obtain barrels in any quantity, wood or liquor,” he said. “We have been fortunate that we haven’t had too many difficulties getting barrels, however, sometimes, specific spirits are more difficult to find (like tequila). We enjoy working through the brokers as well as individual, local and regional distilleries. We’re a very tenacious group, so it isn’t too difficult for us to overcome — where there is a will, there is a way.”

Currently, the brewery is distributed in Ohio along with Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee, Florida, Massachusetts and the Virgin Islands.

The move from the 19,000 square foot Lockland facility will bump up to 26,000 square feet in Monroe while the brewery will increase from a 30 barrel system to 50BBL, helping max capacity go from 20,000 BBLs to 140,000 BBLs. Some of that capacity space will be to continue to house Gypsy brewing projects for fellow brewers.

The brewery cited Monroe as its new base of operations because of the great water available, highway access and because the city really wanted the brewery to move there.

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