Modern Methods Opens Taps for Business

WARREN, Ohio – Steady crowds have been the norm since Adam Keck opened Modern Methods Brewing Co. a few weeks ago.

It’s not a state the entrepreneur and brewer expects to last forever, but it’s one he’s more than willing to accept.

“It has been incredibly humbling. We haven’t had a slow night,” Keck said.

“I don’t bank on that for the future. … I know we’re new and in a honeymoon period, but the response really has been overwhelming and positive.”

Keck, joined by family, friends and patrons, cut the ribbon Friday afternoon on the downtown brewery and taproom. It launched with a soft opening on St. Patrick’s Day.

Modern Methods is in David Grohl Alley, in former warehouse space leased from the Tech Belt Energy Innovation Center. He signed the lease in November 2016 and began working on an “empty brick box” in January 2017.

To ready the space, Keck’s work included sodablasting the exposed brick, wiring the space, cutting, trenching and running plumbing, and framing for the cold room, restrooms and janitor’s closet, he said.

Keck also took advantage of materials he discovered during demolition and repurposed them. The bar is made from reclaimed pine joists from the Kresge Building, in which TBEIC and Modern Methods are located. The bar rails and foot rails also use piping discovered in the rafters. Between renovating the space and installing the brewing equipment, he estimated he spent about $300,000 getting Modern Methods up and running.

Modern Methods has 18 taps, 11 of which are active. The top seller so far has been Darlene, a lager.

“It’s a full-flavored craft beer but if somebody comes in and asks for a Budweiser or a Miller, you can typically put Darlene in front of them and they are right at home,” he said.

The next most popular is Dub City, Modern Method’s flagship India pale ale, or IPA. The brew takes its name from a nickname for Warren. “It’s what the kids call it,” he said.

When patrons enter, they also are struck by the look of the place, Keck said. “More people appreciate that than I thought,” he remarked.

“How could you not be enthusiastic about it?” asked Paul Clouser, president and owner of National Fire and Water Repair, who attended Friday’s ribbon cutting.

Clouser sees the brewery’s opening as “just one more part of the solution” for downtown Warren, with entrepreneurs like Keck and developer Mark Marvin looking beyond profit, Clouser said.

“That component’s there but the people that are doing it have a higher calling,” he remarked. “These people are emotionally invested in this community. This isn’t somebody just coming in and trying to make a buck. They’re trying to make a difference, too.”

As a tenant in TBEIC, Modern Methods will benefit from graduated rent that will increase over time, Keck said. In addition, he gets “nuts and bolts technical assistance” from the incubator. Rick Stockburger, TBEIC’s CEO, visits regularly to discuss projections and numbers and to troubleshoot. “That’s pretty invaluable and you wouldn’t get that with just any space,” he said.

“It’s great having Modern Methods Brewing Co. at TBEIC. They’re focused on water and energy conservation in the brewing process, which fits in with the energy aspect of the TBEIC incubator and they are dedicated to the revitalization of downtown Warren,” said Rose Shaffer Saborse, business development and marketing director for TBEIC.

In addition, the brewery is an asset to the collaborative atmosphere the incubator aims to foster, she said. Several tenants and client companies visit the brewery to discuss business and have networking activities and TBEIC plans to host installments of its monthly Founder’s Exchange series at the brewery.

Keck is already envisioning additions to the business, including food delivery. Modern Methods doesn’t have a kitchen of its own, but invites patrons to bring food they’ve bought elsewhere to enjoy with the selections on tap. Menus for downtown restaurants are available for them to call and place orders for takeout.

“We’re working on a concept that we’d like to start probably in the next couple weeks where you actually order from those restaurants through our point-of-sale system,” he said. He wants to make it a “very seamless process” in which orders are delivered to Modern Methods.

Mayor Doug Franklin, who joined the Modern Methods crew for the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber ribbon cutting, called the establishment “another very exciting investment” for downtown. The brewery is bringing people of all ages downtown, he said.

“It’s just going to create more synergy downtown, which we all want and need,” he said. “But we have to make sure that we keep supporting small businesses like this downtown and throughout the city.”

Clouser recalled walking into Modern Methods one night and, other than the people behind the bar, not recognizing anyone there. “There’s a whole group of people coming down who haven’t been here before and that’s really awesome,” he said.

“For me as a brewer, the most satisfying thing is everybody loves the beer,” Keck said. “We knew that the atmosphere would be cool. We knew that people would be able to find it in downtown Warren. I like to say 95% of people can find something on our menu that they like.”

Pictured: Tiffany Tatar, assistant brewer; Adam Keck, owner; and his wife Sarah Braun.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.