Since opening in October of 2019, Marion Brewing Company (MBC) has been pleasantly surprised at the response they have received from the community.
“We realized within the first month that our original system was too small. We didn’t think Marion was a craft beer town, but people just needed to get used to drinking good craft beer,” said Tim Chambers, one of the co-owners. “We use all real ingredients and make real flavors.”
MBC opened with a one-barrel system, with plans to upgrade in the first 18 months, but just two months later began the process to upgrade to a five-barrel system.
“We got a bigger following than we thought,” said Chambers. “We found that people really took to our beer.”
MBC expected most of their sales to be in distribution, but like most businesses, saw a hit during COVID.
“We like to sell in markets out of Marion, and we’re expanding in the Columbus market,” Chambers said of the company. “It drives business not just to us, but other local businesses.”
“On Saturdays, we see a lot of folks that are either on an ale trail or tag-a-brew trail,” said Chambers. “We had the guy come in who has the most tags. They come in, have a beer, rate us, and are on their way. It’s nice to be on the trail because they stop, and order food from a local restaurant. They come from Columbus, Delaware, and up north. The Toledo groups will stop on their way to Columbus.”
They have seen flight sales increase on the weekends from the traffic, where people can stop and try a few different beers. Then they move on.
“I remember one time the place was fairly full, and I asked if anyone was from Marion, no one was,” Chamber remarked. “People comment on how nice Marion is.”
“We get excited when there are events so we can push people towards other businesses. They walk around and say how cool downtown is. Marion is a great place,” said Chambers.
MBC is located across from Founders Park on Main Street. During summer the street is closed on the third Thursday of each month, and some weekends a food truck can also be found outside of the business.
“We get a lot of people from out of town. They come from Upper Sandusky, Mt. Gilead, Kenton, Powell. We have steady customers from out of town and they love it here,” said Chambers of the uniqueness of Marion.
“We love the events because local people come downtown, and they get excited about Marion. The events give people different reasons to come here,” Chambers said.
MBC reiterates they are not a bar. They encourage people to bring in their own food, have food delivered from a local restaurant, or walk to one of the several restaurants downtown and order dinner. They are family-friendly, with plenty of seating and even games.
“We also love the events because other restaurants that aren’t downtown can have pop-ups. We can shut the street down, bring them downtown and drive business back to them,” Chambers said of supporting others.
In addition to helping drive customers to other businesses, MBC supports the community in multiple ways. They have hosted fundraisers for the Alzheimer’s Association, For the Children, Kiwanis, the Marion County Humane Society, sponsored local teams, and donated to many non-profits.
“We do what we can. We’re all from here. We want everyone to be successful,” Chambers said of their support of Marion.
MBC has three owners: Chambers, Rick Lyon, and Joe Vanbuskirk. Additionally, they hired a full-time salesperson, Bryson Chambers. A few other faces behind the counter can be recognized.
“We all like brewing,” Chambers said. “Marion has been so supportive.”