When I first heard that Orthocity Brewery and Smokehouse was moving to the west side of Warsaw, my response was muted. Sure, I loved meat just as much as anyone else but calling me a beer drinker was pushing it because basically, I don’t drink beer unless I’m on a beach and it has a lime in it. I dig ciders, though, and finding out that Orthocity was family-friendly made it an easy decision to finally pay it a visit. I’m glad I did. It’s become part of our “exclusive regular rotation of restaurants,” a convenient option when the 21 and over places won’t serve our kids (laws – who needs ‘em) and we want something local. We’re hooked and I’m positive you will fall for the guys and their locally-owned brewery just as hard as we have.
I, and many of you, probably know them as “The Brads.” The guys behind Orthocity Brewery and Smokehouse, Brad Sutter and Brad Bibler are two local guys who made their dream of owning a brewery come true. They are as genuine as they appear and I’m honored to be able to tell the story of their locally-owned business.
Responses provided by Brad Sutter.
Tell us a little bit about how OrthoCity got started. What were both of your backgrounds pre-OrthoCity?
“Both Brads started at Biomet in the 90’s and worked there for 7 years (Sutter) and 5 years (Bibler). We both left for Medtronic about a year and a half apart. I (Sutter) worked at Medtronic for 15 years before I left to open OrthoCity BBQ in the Village at Winona in 2015. Bibler worked for Medtronic for 19 years before leaving in 2017. We decided a brewery was going to be our new future and began looking for buildings in late 2016/early 2017. We purchased the old Little Hawk Gun Shop on Warren Street in May 2017. We left the Village in September 2017 and started remodeling our Warren Street location full time. We officially opened February 16, 2018 with our BBQ menu and 3 house-made beers.”
What was the decision-making process like behind your move to the new location? What has the reaction been from your customers?
“We decided to move out of the Village to increase our square footage by adding a dining room and we knew we wanted to open a brewery. There were no available places in the Village to rent at the time so we had to look elsewhere for our new shop. The reaction has been mixed. Our old customers from the Village didn’t want to see us move. They don’t get to this side of town often and we sincerely miss them. We still have our diehards that don’t care where we go because they will follow us to the moon and we appreciate that. We are centrally located to the big shops in town and our lunch hours are crazy busy with them. We moved a little farther away from DePuy, but that hasn’t deterred many of those people from coming out.”
The words “Brewery” and “Smokehouse” are both in the name of your company. How important is it to you that people look at you as not just a brewery but a place that serves great food as well?
“The name – I feel it is super important to sell people an entire package. We want to capture everyone in your family and draw them in. If we call it a brewery then I feel our attempt at selling that perfect first impression is lost as it portrays a “bar” scene or adults only type of shop. On the flipside, we had to include brewery in the name as it is our newest addition to the OrthoCity branding and it will be a huge part of our revenue moving forward. We definitely want to offer something for everyone.”
What are some of your more popular brews? What about meats?
“Our number one seller is The 483. It’s hoppy, has a subtle bitterness, and is a very well balanced beer. Our Big Bursa Blonde, Red Dragon Rye, and our smoked Preclinical Porter have been great sellers lately too. We brew everything in-house and we’re very proud of our beers. We are known for our dry rub only ribs and our brisket. But we have fun with food and it shows with our PigTater, a huge baked potato stuffed with pulled pork and cheese, and our BBQ Parfait, a transparent cup layered with beans, mac, pulled pork, and topped with slaw.”
You’re a local outfit. How important is it for people spend money with locally-owned businesses?
“We are local owners with families and we in turn try to shop local. I try to buy as many products in our community as possible. We know from being self-employed that buying from our neighbors helps to keep more money in our locale and that compounds into that person buying from someone locally and so on.”
What can people look for from OrthoCity in the future?
“In the future, look for us to expand. We bought the building and property and we look to add-on to our building in 3-4 years. A new brewhouse with a much larger brewing system for distribution. For now, we just poured the concrete for our new patio and threw some tables and chairs on it. In the coming weeks, look for planters filled with herbs, vegetables, and flowers, lighting, a sun shade, and a stage for live music. We were recently approved to bring adult beverages out there so we’re super stoked about that ability.”
When customers enter your doors for the first time, what kind of experience do you hope they have?
“I hope new guests find a warm smile, inviting atmosphere, and enjoy the refreshing culture we’re creating. We’re laid back, the decorations are laid back, and we invite you to come as you are- whether that’s in a suit, tie and/or dress or just a set of dusty bibs. But please enjoy our woodwork in the dining area. We, Chuck Bowlds the brewmaster, Brad Bibler co-owner, and myself have built everything in this shop. From the lights, the concrete bar, the chalk boards, the chair rail, and the hostess stand we built it all from repurposed materials. There’s 100 year old house studs as chair rail, 128 year old barn wood as trim and wall coverings, chalk boards from a local school, wood shelves from a tree south of the high school, and Bibler’s dad built our tables out of 30 year old hackberry. Ask us how many drills we burnt up mixing the concrete for the bar!”
While Orthocity’s new website is under construction, you can stay up to date with them on their oft-updated Facebook page. Don’t forget – there’s more than beer on the menu and it’s kid-friendly, making it an excellent option for a family night out, especially with the outdoor patio. And remember, as always – eat local!
I’m having issues with WordPress displaying any maps so you can click here to find out exactly where Orthocity is located. Happy trails!