Jackie O’s Brewery Goes Field to Table … Field to Brew

barrel ridge farm

Art Oestrike, the owner of Jackie O’s Brewery in Athens, Ohio, decided that if something could be produced locally, why get it from somewhere else? It was with this mission that in coordination with the brewery and taproom, he launched the Barrel Ridge Farm.

“Art is extremely locally minded and will obtain as many locally sourced materials and products as he can incorporate into the business as possible,” said seth Lutton, the farm manager at Barrel Ridge Farm. “Our mission at the farm is to produce as much fresh produce year-round to the restaurant … and seasonally supply the brewery with specialty ingredients that they use in some of their beers.”

Barrel Ridge Farm supplies the taproom and restaurant with everything from salad mix, onions, carrots, potatoes, summer squash, cucumbers, etc. “We grow a large variety of many different kinds of vegetables,” explained Lutton. “Any excess that we have is sold to other local restaurants at our local farmer’s market, and through our summer-long CSA program.”

Specifically for the brewery the farm supplies things like blue spruce, Asian pears, lemon balm, lemon verbena, lemongrass, yarrow, mint, raspberries and pumpkins. “Next year we will be putting in an orchard of cherry trees to be used in the production of sour beers,” said Lutton. “Some of the spent grains from the brewing process are taken back to the farm to be used as mulch, added to compost or to supplement goat feed. The remainder of the spent grain from the brewing process is taken to other local farms to feed cattle, some of which produce the beef for the hamburgers at the restaurant. The spent grain is also used in the pizza crusts at the restaurants. None of the spent grain is wasted.”

For many farms striving to focus on brewery or restaurant sales, one of the major concerns is whether the buyer will be in need of the produce they’ve cultivated. However, for Barrel Ridge Farm, it has the ability to work closely with its source to decide what will and won’t be used. This helps them to decide what produce they should focus on more, and what they should avoid.

“If we know the restaurant or the brewery are going to consistently be able to use particular items at certain times of the year, we can grow such items without hesitation, and it avoids many of the unknowns on the retail end of things that are being produced on the farm,” said Lutton.

In the future Barrel Ridge Farm is looking to bring more farm to table ingredients for the menu at Jackie O’s, as well as for the brewery itself. “Seasonal menu specials have done well and every year we try new things,” said Lutton. “As I mentioned, the hop yard, the cherry orchard, as well as expanding our raspberry beds, will supply more of these ingredients to the brewery in the future than we have been able to in the past. The brewery at 25 Campbell St. in Athens, Ohio is getting ready to expand, which will require larger quantities of ingredients and produce more spent grain in the process.”



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