Restaurateurs and brewers Lindsey and Jason Roeper know how to boldly pave their own path. At their core, they are creators. Crafting exceptional experiences from the guest’s first sip of barrel-aged beer to their last bite of slow smoked barbecue, this couple built Rivertown Brewery & Barrel House on the foundation of innovation and an innate desire to disrupt the industry with a style all their own.
Lindsey and Jason grew Rivertown with a delicate balance of gumption, patience, and perseverance. They met at a beer festival and it was love at first pour. With a combined 20 years of industry expertise and devotion to ale experimentation, they’ve expanded their operation to a 26,000 square foot brewpub in Monroe, Ohio. Rivertown specializes in slow smoked meats, sour & unconventional styles of beer, and a genuine commitment to the guest’s experience. Lindsey and Jason have complete quality and creative control over every facet of Rivertown. The brewing, menu, and beer distribution are all performed in-house.
“Having full ownership of the restaurant and the production side allows for this awesome synergy between our food, beers, and team to provide a completely unique experience in the area,” Lindsey says.
Lindsey is the “Dream Facilitator;” making ideas come to fruition. She handles all aspects of marketing, sales, and front of house. Jason is revered as the “Fearless Leader” and brew master; managing the production side and what’s created in the kitchen.
In its dream phase, Rivertown was always intended to be both a restaurant and a brewery. Its inception began with an award-winning beer. Jason’s passion for brewing was ignited after learning the tricks of the trade from his uncle, a seasoned homebrewer. When he heard about the Sam Adam’s Longshot Competition in 2007, a national competition for homebrewers, he felt ready to enter his signature brew, “Straight Up.” This unblended, elderberry lambic was named a top finalist out of 12,000 entries.
Feeling inspired, Jason put pen to paper and drafted Rivertown’s first business plan. After shopping the idea around, he encountered obstacles; opening a brewpub was considered an incredibly risky venture. Jason persevered, and Rivertown Brewing was finally born into an industrial space in Lockland, Ohio. With a mobile catering license, he was able to fulfill his dream of serving up barbeque to customers.
In 2009, Ohio was not yet the craft beer powerhouse that it is today. It was illegal for breweries to have taprooms until 2012. At that time Rivertown was one of only five craft brewers in the Greater Cincinnati region. In the years following, that number has grown explosively. Now totaling a whopping 55 craft breweries, Southwest Ohio has become one of the nation’s top craft beer destinations. Jason and Lindsey just celebrated their tenth incredible year in business. They remain an industry leader and continuously stand out in a saturated market through inventive ales and names to go with them.
Lindsey and Jason have shared the rare experience of brewery life before the widespread accessibility of taprooms, running a full restaurant operation alongside brew production, and growing the awareness of what it means to drink local.
“We’ve been part of educating the community on what craft beer is and what is locally crafted beer, and why that’s a good thing to support,” Lindsey says.
Rivertown quickly outgrew its space in Lockland. In just a short matter of years, they turned 2,000 square feet into 15,000; a change of venue was in order. Opening in the Spring of 2017, the move to Monroe felt like the right fit for the operation based on the area’s unparalleled water quality and rapidly-expanding opportunity for growth.
“We absolutely love the city of Monroe and Butler County. Everyone is so supportive and active in growing the community. We’re centrally located between Cincinnati and Dayton, making us a great spot to stop in between.”
The first Monroe barrel house keg was tapped in January 2017 and they’ve been filling their 30 tap bar with rotating flavors ever since.
They’ve acquired a rock solid team that brings creative new ideas and styles to the table. They love playing with different brew flavors, things that would seemingly clash, and then creating something like Death—a Russian Imperial Stout brewed with Jolokia peppers. It’s a core member of their “Liquid Ingenuity Collection.” Death is rich, hearty, and packs a heated punch. They even inject it into their brisket.
“We call our front of house ‘architects’ because they’re building an experience for our guests,” Lindsey says. They take pride in providing exceptional guest satisfaction.
Working together as a married couple adds a layer of trust that the two would not find anywhere else. “I always have his back, and he’s always got mine,” said Lindsey. They have all the same goals for Rivertown, sometimes with two different avenues of getting there.
The barrel house is open for lunch and dinner every day of the week.