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R. Shea Brewing Signs Lease for New Production Brewery, Restaurant

Akron Beacon Journal

Ron Shea celebrated signing a lease for his new Akron production brewery, taproom and restaurant the way you would expect — he cracked open a beer and toasted the accomplishment.  Shea, the founder and brewer at the popular R. Shea Brewing Co. in the city’s Merriman Valley, on Thursday showed off his future home, a cavernous and industrial space that covers about 60,000 square feet inside downtown’s Canal Place complex.  He also signed his lease while surrounded by family, city leaders and others who helped him get to this point.
The $2 million project at 540 S. Main St. involves launching a 20-barrel production brewery and constructing an 8,000-square-foot tasting room and restaurant serving sandwiches, burgers and pizza.  The restaurant will feature a mezzanine overlooking the expansive production floor.  
Shea hopes to open before the end of the year.  “We’re looking to create a destination brewery,” he said, his voice echoing inside the building, a setting that’s similar in size and character to Rhinegeist Brewery in Cincinnati.  Canal Place once served as the home for tire-maker B.F. Goodrich and the complex of red brick buildings now houses a variety of businesses.  R. Shea’s building features a ceiling that rises up 30 to 35 feet over the production space, concrete floors and plenty of old manufacturing windows that let in sunlight.  Shea plans to keep the industrial atmosphere.
Canal Place likely will become a beer destination thanks to the fact that Missing Falls Brewing Co. also is opening a brewery inside the same building. R. Shea and Missing Falls will be a few steps from each other under the same roof.  Shea is encouraging other potential brewers to open there, as well.  He’s also excited to create an official, city-sanctioned “Brewery District” in the downtown area featuring his brewery, Missing Falls, Aqueduct, Thirsty Dog and two others that are opening: Akronym and Lock 15. “It’s right in line with the mayor’s initiatives for downtown development … and making it a destination,” said Julie Pryseski, who works in the city’s Office of Integrated Development.
The Akron area has seen a slew of brewery openings over the last few years as craft beer has grown in popularity thanks in part to people wanting to eat and drink local products.  The Brewers Association, a Boulder, Colorado-based trade group, said this week that more than 6,300 breweries were operating last year throughout the U.S. and another 2,500 are in planning stages.
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