words MICHAEL KEARNS  |  photography MATT STEFFEN

On January 26, the brew masters of MadTree Brewing unveiled their new production brewery, taproom, and event center at the Soft Opening of MadTree 2.0 located in the former RockTenn building on Madison Ave in Oakley. The space is enormous, and although not quite complete at the time of the event, it was clear that MadTree will be more than successful in bringing their dreams to fruition.

MadTree 2.0 replaces MadTree 1.0, the production-constrained, parking-challenged, funky, industrial digs on Kennedy Ave. As promised, MadTree 2.0 features a new, American-made W. M. Sprinkman Corporation one hundred-barrel brew house, an expanded quality laboratory, and an approximately fifty thousand square-foot taproom featuring sixty-four taps. The interior also contains a larger space for Catch-A-Fire Café, two private event spaces, and plenty of office space for their growing staff which in just four years has grown from three employees to fifty-four. Outside is a ten thousand square-foot beer garden and plenty of room for parking. The new space should prove sufficiently capacious for even the largest of shindigs and will also be a pleasant place to spend summer nights as the large open garage door windows will unite the taproom with the beer garden when the weather allows.

At the Soft Opening event, founders Jeff Hunt, Kenny McNutt, and Brady Duncan kept their speeches short and sweet. Attendees were offered tours of the plant and treated to a wide selection of delectable hors d’oeuvres and pizzas fresh from the new wood fire ovens. The guests were more than happy to simply bask in the moment, while the MadTree family seemed content to allow their ales and stouts to speak for themselves. And while the grand opening event will undoubtedly be a significantly larger throw down, this evening was blissfully restrained with attendees comprised primarily of friends, family, and industry cohorts.

The number of attendees from across Cincinnati’s microbrew community suggests that not only have MadTree’s owners and employees succeeded in the physical expansion of their brewery, but they’ve also succeeded in maintaining their friendships with other brewers. Fellow brewers were genuinely happy for the MadTree folk. Michael Bruckner of Braxton Brewery spoke for many in stating, “I’m so happy for these guys. I know some of them going back [a long time]. I love this place, and I’m excited for them.”

Master Brewer Ryan Blevins, MadTree employee number three, reported that MadTree’s in-house engineer has keep construction on track with no major surprises, and while it will be April or May until brewing fully transfers from plant 1.0 to 2.0, Blevins is clearly excited about the expansion.

One hurdle that remains is the geometric expansion of production of MadTree’s myriad offerings while maintaining consistency and quality, but Blevins is certain MadTree is up to the challenge. In fact, he says, the expansion will provide relief to the hard-working staff. Blevins explained that the increased capacity will allow MadTree to reduce the current twenty-four hour a day production at the Kennedy Ave plant to just three to four shifts throughout the week at MadTree 2.0. Such a change, he says, will greatly reduce overall workload and increase quality of life for everyone. “In fact,” Blevins says, “almost all the changes made here have been driven by the need to maintain a comfortable corporate culture.” This culture, he says, allows the entire staff to enjoy their efforts while still leaving time for a life outside of work.

It has been, by anyone’s standards, a hell of a ride for MadTree Brewing. As Kenny McNutt noted in his opening comments, it was just four years ago this week that MadTree brewed its first batch in his basement. Should the next four years match the previous four, we’re all in for a phenomenal time.


MadTree 2.0 is located at 3301 Madison Road in Oakley.  The new taproom hours are Tuesday through Thursday 11am-11pm, Friday through Sunday 10am-1am.

Join them Saturday, February 11 from 11am-1am for the grand opening party and 4th annual Winter Bonanza.  Madtree will be featuring more than 70 beers (their full line plus a slew of guest taps), live music, and bites from local food trucks and restaurants.