If you are unaware of March First Brewing, don’t be hard on yourself. They’ve been intentionally flying under the radar for a few weeks, slowly seeping out to bars and restaurants around town. But this is only the very beginning of perhaps the most ambitious Cincinnati brewery yet.
March First’s Beginnings
March First is opening up with a 10-barrel 2-vessel brewhouse, 3 20-barrel fermenters, and 1 20-barrel bright tank, a relatively standard setup for new breweries. They’re also opening with a centrifuge, 6-head bottle filler, and a canning machine on the way. Oh, and 3 cider fermenters plus a bright tank just for ciders. Let’s not forget about the still, as in distilling for making spirits.
The common story thus far in Cincinnati has been one or two fermenters, a bright tank, and a kegging machine with thoughts of bottles/cans in the future. March First is starting off small, but aggressive.
March First’s High Sights
As if opening with beer, cider, spirits, bottles, and cans wasn’t enough the long-term goals of March First are no less incredible.
While they have three fermenters now, they’ll be ordering two more soon, and have their eyes set for 15 or 16 more and up to 25. Plus, a separate building as a rickhouse for aging spirits along with storage for ingredients and distribution space.
Many breweries open with the goal of making good beer. Some breweries hope to go statewide, others regionally. The goal at March First is nothing short of national distribution. Playing with “the big guys” and competing with “the macros” was a recurrent theme from the owner.
How Will They Get There?
It’s one thing to have ambitious goals and another thing to be confident in your plan to achieve them. The owner of March First seems highly confident in his ability to achieve these goals. The brewery is currently producing a lager, a bock, a dry hopped cider, and testing a lime cider.
While they have an IPA coming soon, lighter, easier drinking beers are the focus which is currently targeted on lagers and ciders are the core focus. On the spirit side, they plan vodka, rum, whiskey, and bourbon (initially from private labels but eventually made in-house), and applejack brandy.
A Focus on Quality
They are starting off with a rather nice lab setup, much nicer than most other breweries have at this stage of the game.
When it comes to making lagers this lab setup is crucial. The hops in an IPA or the roast of a stout will cover up many flaws. But there is nothing for those flaws to hide behind in a lager. A high-quality lab goes a long way high-quality quality beer. March First is also focusing on high-quality ingredients and locally sourcing what they can, including corn from Athens and Ohio-grown apples for cider.
Impatient to Try March First?
Their taproom isn’t open quite yet but will be soon. For now, you can hunt down where they are on tap on their website.