A glass half full: local brewery on the grow

Alycia Douglass

Published on March 16, 2017

Andy and Karen Rorabeck of Rurban Brewing stand next to the brewery's new tanks. (Alycia Douglass/TC Media)

CORNWALL, Ontario - It’s been a good year for Rurban Brewing. Having recently received the Cornwall Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Award for Small Business of the Year, the brewery has just completed a highly-anticipated expansion.

“Everything is hooked up as of yesterday, and ready to go,” said brewery matriarch, Karen Rorabeck. “That will give us a 300 percent increase in volume, which puts us about two years ahead of where wanted to be. We basically just want to get the beer flowing and see where we go with it.”

Karen says that the expansion came following the tremendous success of the newly launched Cornwall Golden Lager, which was announced this past Dec. at Team Cornwall’s Year in Review Meeting.

“The Cornwall Golden Lager is kind of the reason for our expansion, and is easily one of our more popular beers already” said Karen. “If that was the only beer we wanted in shop, we’d tie every single tank up keeping it in shop.” The expansion, which includes the addition of several new tanks and fermenters, will allow the brewery to keep up with the demand of the tasty new brew.

“It’s a beer that takes a long time to make – anywhere from six to nine weeks.” While the lager takes slightly longer to produce, Karen says it’s a worthy feat, with the last batch selling out in less than a week. Hoping to have the beer available in the coming weeks, owner/brewer Andy Rorabeck says that good things take time.

“I’d rather have someone upset about their beer not being ready than release something that I know I’ve rushed,” said Andy.

In addition to the brewery’s expansion, they are also slated to release their beloved Kentucky Smooth Amber Cream Ale, which will be available just in time for St. Patrick’s Day.

“Kentucky Smooth is just a really easy-drinking amber-coloured beer,” said Karen. “It’s a style that was lost in prohibition, and now some brewers are trying to bring it back.” Karen says that they are always on the hunt for a mid-range beer to add to the brewery’s assortment, and Kentucky Smooth was just the ticket.

Typically, the brewery has between 10-14 beers in-stock, with their five staples being Stops and Goes, New Johnstown, White Tail, Alestake & Evergreen, and their Palentine Pale Ale, with the Cornwall Golden Lager soon to be added to the docket.

“Our philosophy is to have a variety for people, so even if they don’t like all of the beers, there’s probably something that they would like,” said Karen.