Craft Brewery to Open by June in Former Downtown Church

YOUNGSTOWN, Oho – The operators of a proposed brewery and taproom hope to be up and running by June.

Ira and Marcy Gerhart presented their plans to renovate a former church at 126 E. Rayen Ave. and launch Noble Creature Cask House there to the Youngstown Design Review Committee Tuesday. The committee approved a handicapped-accessible ramp, landscaping and conceptual designs for the exterior.

The couple, who live in Youngstown, plan to spend $150,000 to equip and renovate the building, Ira Gerhart told the committee. He and his wife have secured bank financing through the U.S. Small Business Administration.

In September, City Council approved a $12,000 water/wastewater grant for Noble Creature.

“It’s always been a dream to open our own business, and I’ve had a passion for craft beer since I graduated college,” Mr. Gerhart said. He started home brewing in 2010 and has been head brewer at Sprague Farm & Brew Works for thee years. Mrs. Gerhart is a kitchen manager in the food service industry, he said.

“This is our first endeavor into owning a brewery,” he said.

Youngstown “seemed like a pretty good place to try and do this,” Mrs. Gerhart stated. “We’ve been looking for property in Youngstown for years now, and every time we got close to purchasing it, it fell through in one way, shape or form.”

The Gerharts had looked for years for a location within the city before discovering the building on East Rayen Avenue. Before they could buy it, however, CPJF Properties LLC, Boardman, acquired it.

“We didn’t get there in time,” Mr. Gerhart said. Instead, they are renting the building under a three-year lease for what he described as a “reasonable price,” with an option for four more years. “We’re just going to start here and see what happens,” he said.

Noble Creature will offer a limited menu, sandwiches and appetizers, he said. On mornings, it will serve bagels and other breakfast foods.

In addition to making craft beers for onsite consumption, the brewery will bottle beer for take-out and have some “small distribution” around the area, possibly getting into small-scale canning.

“The idea is to bring people to Youngstown,” Mr. Gerhart said. He also said he wants to refinish and repurpose as much of the original woodwork and interior as possible.

In other business, the committee approved fencing and landscaping for Phase 3 of Fireline Inc.’s proposed expansion.

And it approved the replacement of the entrance doors on East Boardman Street of the Ohio One Building, 25 E. Boardman St. The doors will serve as the entryway for Students Motivated by the Arts, which is using space on the first floor.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.