When Matt Zeiner was busy drinking sodas on the playground at Rimer Elementary School, he could never have dreamed in 30 years he’d be bottling his own beverages or starting a business.
“I first brewed beer in 1998 with relative,” he explained. “I have always enjoyed beer and cooking, so brewing is a no brainer for me.”
For the first decade, it was a hobby. Over the next 10 years, it progressively became something more. But it was when Matt and a small group of Kenmore Neighborhood Alliance volunteers designed, built and operated the beer garden for the Kenmore Better Block that the lightbulb finally went off.
“That Saturday night, I was standing in the beer garden and looked over and saw Mayor Horrigan and my city councilman and I said, “Man, there’s never been a brewery in Kenmore.”
Matt spent the next several years perfecting his craft, joining the craft brewer’s association and learning from others. But Matt soon came to a realization: “I know how to make beer: I don’t know anything about how to run a business,” he explained.
Enter the city’s Rubber City Match program, which provides education, loans and grants, and location matching for Akron’s small business community. “It was great,” Matt explained. “I started at the beginning and learned from the ground up.”
But when it came to location, there never was a question where Matt’s brewery would go.
“The Boulevard is awesome and has a really cool small town Main Street vibe in the middle of the city,” he said. “A brewery can attract people from outside the community and let them see some of the positives of this area.”
It’s an area Matt said he is committed to for the long run: “I grew up in Kenmore and have lived here for 42 years and will most likely be here another 42 or more.”
Matt is currently a finalist in the Rubber City Match cash award program. He said a Kickstarter campaign will follow once that program concludes.
For now, he’s asking people to spread the word that Kenmore Boulevard will finally be getting a brewery.
“In a few years, I see the Boulevard being a great destination for craft beer, craft food and craft music, if that’s such a thing,” he said.
Until then, people can contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and updates.