Akron, Ohio: A Beer Town Reborn

Nowhere else in the world can you find a city that is the birthplace of Alcoholics Anonymous and an emerging hub for craft beer! With an ever growing local craft beer presence, Akron, Ohio is making an unexpected mark in the craft beer game. With an increasingly vibrant brewing scene and a slew of unique bars, restaurants, and taverns, Akron is quickly becoming a nationally recognized beer town. So grab a cold one and come explore Akron – you might just find your new favorite craft beer!

Akron, Ohio has a rich history in beer production, wine making and brewing. From the early days of brewing industry of the 1800’s to the emergence of modern craft beer, Akron has long been established as a craft beer destination. While the city has had its ebbs and flows in the craft beer industry, it is now coming into its own as a beer town, with more establishments offering craft beers and Akron’s own breweries emerging.

History of the Brewing Industry in Akron

The brewing industry in Akron began with the construction of the Pittsburgh and Ohio brewery in 1825. It was the first brewery in the state of Ohio. This brewery was soon followed by the D.B. Shaw Brewery, which opened in 1845, and the Hillard and Brown Brewery, which opened in 1849. Throughout this period, Akron’s population grew to around 1,000 people and the various breweries quickly filled a critical need for beer.

By the late 1800s, breweries and distilleries had become an integral part of Akron’s economy, accounting for a large portion of the city’s jobs. During this time, Akron was home to more than 10 breweries. These included the Steltzner Brewing Co., Olyphant Brewery, the Seiberling Brewing Co., and the Wieland Brewing Co.

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As the years progressed, many of these breweries began to close, a victim of the prohibitions of the 20th century. Eventually, most of the breweries were forced to close or merge as the city’s population began to decline.

Akron Re-emerges as a Craft Beer Destination

As Akron’s population declined, so did its brewing industry. However, in the last few years, Akron is reemerging as a craft beer destination. This is largely due to the efforts of various craft brewers and beer connoisseurs. These individuals are part of a growing movement to bring craft beer production back to the city.

The Akron Craft Beer Alliance is one of the major movers and shakers in the Akron beer scene. The alliance is a collaboration of brewers, beer enthusiasts, and businesses that are dedicated to promoting craft beer culture in Akron. The Alliance aims to promote craft beer festivals, support local breweries, and create partnerships between businesses to stimulate Akron’s craft beer scene.

This has led to the emergence of several craft brewers in the city, including R. Shea Brewing, HiHO Brewing Co., Thirsty Dog Brewing Company, Royal Docks Brewing Co., Missing Mountain Brewing Co., and Lock 15 Brewing Co. There are also many craft breweries and beer tasting rooms located in the wider region, including Hoppin’ Frog Brewery, Thirsty Dog Brewing Company, JAFB Wooster Brewery, Aqueduct Brewing and Rhinegeist Brewing.

In addition to the various craft breweries, Akron also has an impressive list of craft beer bars and taprooms, such as the Thirsty Dog Taphouse, The Zodiac, Swig Live, Coin Toss Brewing, The Lockview, and The Mustill Store. These establishments offer a wide selection of craft beers from around the region and the world.

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Akron is the Birthplace of Alcoholics Anonymous

It’s also worth noting—with appropriate irony—that Akron is the birthplace of Alcoholics Anonymous. The group’s founders, Dr. Bob Smith and Bill Wilson, met for the first time in Akron in 1935. The two had already been members of the Oxford Group, a spiritual movement that focused on helping the suffering through service to others. Smith and Wilson went on to develop the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, which has helped millions of people around the world.

Experience Akron’s rich beer culture

Once well-known for its many breweries and strong beer culture, Akron is now experiencing a resurgence. Thanks to craft beer enthusiasts, brewers, and establishments, Akron is not only coming back as a beer town, but is well on its way to becoming a major craft beer destination. If you are looking to experience Akron’s rich beer culture, there is much to explore. From breweries and beer tasting rooms to craft beer bars and taprooms, there is something for everyone.

Akron's Breweries

  • R. Shea Brewing
  • HiHO Brewing Co.
  • Thirsty Dog Brewing Co.
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