A brew-your-own beer businesses primed for growth has selected Mentor as the city to house its expansion.
Little Mountain Brewing Co. will move to Mentor and open by late July or early August, owner Bob Weber said. The company has been in Kirtland since 2010, but will receive an incentive grant of at least $4,000 from the city to help out with its move.
Moving to 7621 Mentor Ave. will give Little Mountain a space that is six times larger than its current location, which is just 1,200 square feet. Once the transition is complete, Little Mountain will offer food for the first time. The company is teaming up with chef Chris Sotkovsky, who operates The Reserve catering company in Chardon.
"We wanted to add food service when they brew on premises because that session takes three hours," Weber said. "Most times, they taste a few beers, but they'd like a pizza or a snack."
Little Mountain will also serve its own beer and its Newell Creek Wine line, which was recently registered with the Ohio Attorney General's Office.
Initially, the business will seat about 55 people, but could expand to about 100 people by the end of the year after a dining room is opened beyond private parties.
The future location used to be the home of Club 9 Billiards. The site has been completely gutted other than the kitchen. The project's cost is about $145,000.
The move will require many more employees than the current staff that consists of just Weber and an assistant. The payroll is expected to exceed $200,000, qualifying Little Mountain for a one-time grant between $4,000 and $6,000.
The business' address is on Mentor Avenue, but it is somewhat tucked away behind Wendy's and Carpet One. Weber said the only complication with his move is one of the nearby companies' refusal to allow Little Mountain signage on its property, which faces Mentor Avenue. He said he's working with the city and the other business, which he declined to identify, but there is little hope for an agreement, he said.
"We are still excited about going to Mentor," he said. "Places like Willoughby Brewing Company do tremendous business because people seek out unique businesses like ours.
"Once they find out it'll be there and enjoy their experience, we think we'll do just fine."