Phoenix Brewing Celebrates 9th Anniversary With Week-Long Party

Nine, is just one more than eight, but for the Phoenix Brewing Company the difference between those two numbers is much more than just 365 days. It is the culmination of the last nine years into one fantastic journey.

The Phoenix Brewing Company, in Mansfield, Ohio is celebrating its ninth anniversary this week with events all week. Duncan Macfarlane, co-owner and head brewer said, “We aren’t just celebrating ourselves; we are celebrating our whole community.  This journey really has just been fantastic. We even named a beer for it.”

“The Fantastic Journey is a Hazy IPA infused with passionfruit for sweet and twangy citrus notes.  It is brewed with Belma, Barbe Rouge, Idaho Gem, and Cryo Pop hops for citrus and berry aromas and flavors. This batch is brewed with a special terpene blend to maximize their dankness and a little bit of lactose for a creamy mouthfeel. Terpenes are the compounds in hops that give the plant its aroma and flavor. We are really excited to share this one,” Macfarlane said.

While craft beer is their passion, one of their favorite parts of the journey has been the craft beer community.

“We didn’t really know what to expect when we opened. We were hoping people would fall in love with craft beer as much as we had. It has grown into a larger community that has really embraced craft beer. I still get goosebumps,” Macfarlane said.

“It is difficult to quantify community. How do you do that? It is easy to see growth in numbers addressing barrelage and production. But we have seen relationships begin, marriages, 5Ks, golf outings, trivia, bingo, weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, dog adoption, book clubs, new friendships, philanthropy, collaborations, goals met, 5ks, and so much more. The craft beer community has grown. We get to be a part of it every day. What could be better than that.”

In 2014 the Phoenix brewed on a five-barrel system. That quickly expanded to include a second 20-barrel brewhouse. The 10 barrels of fermentation tank space went to 150 barrels while also purchasing a 25,000 sq. foot warehouse. Delivering kegs from personal vehicles expanded to two delivery vans, and draft-only transitioned to include bomber bottles, then 16 oz cans from their own canning line.

The staff has grown from five to 22, with seven of those positions being full-time. Originally the positions were just brewer and bartenders. Now they include sales, distribution, brewers, cellarman, creative and marketing, safety, accounting, IT, bartenders, and bourbon stewards. Many work in dual positions, and many also serve on community organizations, community boards and committees, and with the Ohio Craft Brewers Association, and the Brewers Association.

The taproom only space expanded to include a patio, and then a second patio, or seasonal beer garden. And in 2023 the long-awaited renovation of the unused space into the Spirit Room at the Phoenix. The upstairs renovation into the Spirit Room at the Phoenix allows them to offer something different to patrons, but it also is a great space for private rental.

The beer portfolio started with only four offerings. The portfolio adjusts every year, but there are typically over 70 offerings throughout the year including collaborations with other breweries and non-profit organizations.

Since their beginnings, the Phoenix has tried to support and raise awareness for a variety of causes with local non-profit charities and non-profit national charities and organizations in the brewing industry through sponsorships, donations, special beer releases, fundraising events, and apparel sales. In May of 2021, the Phoenix transitioned to a non-tipping establishment in order for staff to secure a more fair and even wage with COVID disruptions. Employee hourly wages were raised, and staff were able to also cross-train in different areas of the brewery. Any cash left behind is donated to a designated charity each month.

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