New microbrewery set to open downtown

Sunday, August 16, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — For the owners of the newest microbrewery in town, the focus is on freshly brewed beer and a different kind of bar menu.

The Broadway Brewery, located next to The Root Cellar, is expected to open in the next two weeks at 816 E. Broadway. The brewery will offer an assortment of beers and locally grown foods.

Co-owner Walker Claridge also co-owns The Root Cellar and has been working on the location for the brewery since last October.

“I have always had the idea to open a brewery, and this was just the right time and place with The Root Cellar next door,” Claridge said. “It really fit into the concept I wanted with fresh, local foods.”

Claridge opened a brew club eight years ago at The Root Cellar and learned the process of brewing with help from about 10 other members. “Some were learning to brew for the first time, like me,” Claridge said. “We started brewing together and working out recipes we liked.”

The club met every month and Paul Dickerson, brew master of the Broadway Brewery, was among the members. He has been brewing beer for 15 years and the Broadway Brewery will be his first time with commercial brewing.

“The club was a fun way to learn new techniques and show my knowledge of brewing,” Dickerson said. “It’s always fun to get together with other brewers and talk about beer.”

Along with Claridge and Dickerson, brothers Kenny and Jim Duzan are also co-owners of the brewery. Both are produce farmers and have a booth at the Columbia Farmers' Market.

Claridge expects opening day to be fairly quiet and plans to work out the kinks in the first couple of days.

“For opening day, we are not going to try to do a big blow-up or media campaign,” Claridge said. “We have a direct line to consumers who will enjoy our food from the farmers market, and that is the best marketing line.”

Claridge said the process of opening a brewery has been incredibly trying — both financially and emotionally. However, local competitor Flat Branch Pub & Brewing has welcomed the competition.

“The management has been more than friendly, and we already have a good communication with them,” Claridge said. “It’s a possibility that in the future some sort of activities like movies and tastings can be planned together."

The Broadway Brewery will initially feature eight to 12 beers at a price of $3.25 to $3.50 each. The brewery does not have a fryer and plans to bake most of its food. “We don’t want to be another greasy pub place. We are just taking another angle,” Claridge said.

The Broadway Brewery can be reached at 443-5054.

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