Greater Cincinnati's newest brewery opens this weekend – and it has big plans

By Andy Brownfield – Reporter, Cincinnati Business Courier

Oct 26, 2018, 12:00pm EDT

A Greater Cincinnati brewery opening this weekend is taking full advantage of its 6.5 acres of land, bringing outdoor activities and games to its campus.

Sonder Brewing at 8584 Duke Blvd. in Mason is celebrating its grand opening on Saturday, Oct. 27. The brewery wants to be a place people can go and hang out even if they don't like beer.

Its 6.5-acre campus will lend itself to that. It will have the typical brewery things – taproom, patio and a kitchen serving bar fare – but it will also include amenities like bocce ball courts, cornhole sets, a wiffle ball diamond and a kickball field. Partner Justin Neff describes it as pretty much a full recreation center.

"While our beer will be amazing, it will be a space you want to hang out," he said.

The 3,000-square-foot outdoor patio will include a projection screen to show sporting events and family-friendly movies. Future plans include a rooftop deck with a direct line of sight to the Kings Island fireworks.

Neff is a longtime home brewer. He and his wife moved to Cincinnati for a food industry job where Kroger was his largest customer. It was always his dream – as the son of two small business owners – to do his own entrepreneurial thing, so he got started on what would become Sonder in 2014.

Chase Legler is Sonder's director of brewing operations. He was previously lead brewer for Wisconsin-based New Glarus Brewing, the 16th-largest craft brewery in the U.S., which has been around since 1993. He's joined by head brewer Luke Shropshire, formerly of Columbia Tusculum craft brewery Streetside. Neff said the two brewers' styles complement each other.

"Chase has 14 years of commercial brewing experience – bringing him on was a game-changer – and Luke has a passion for sour beers and some of the up-and-coming funky styles," he said.

Sonder will have the capacity to brew 6,000 barrels annually and will start with keg distribution to Mason initially before expanding to Cincinnati. It will have a full kitchen to serve to the taproom.