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Unleash the Flavor of Thirsty Dog Brews
By Laura Barmore

Thirsty Dog Brewing Company started out in 1996 as a Grill and Brewery in Canton, Ohio. It was originally formed by three partners and a brew master who at the time was an award winning home brewer. The Grill and Brewery utilized the full “dog theme” serving kids meals and adult appetizers in dog dishes and providing their own beers that were brewed on premise.












The Old Leghumper brand, their flagship beer was actually first brewed and tested before the opening of the Grill and Brewery but it wasn’t long before Thirsty Dog Brewing came up with other brews with dog themes, such as Hoppus Maximus, Balto Heroic Lager, Siberian Night and Golding’s Retriever. They also branched out their Brewpubs to include locations in Akron and Centerville (just outside of Dayton).

The company had only been in existence for four years when they won their first distinguished awards. In 2000, the Old Leghumper won the Bronze and Raspberry Old Leghumper won the Silver in the World Beer Cup. The World Beer Cup is often referred to as “the Olympics of Beer competitions” because every two years a highly qualified professional panel of beer judges honors the top three beers in 81 beer style categories with gold, silver, and bronze awards. It is one of the very few international beer competitions awarding only one gold, silver, and bronze “medal” in each category. In 2004 there were roughly 500 breweries from 30 different countries competing.

That same year, Raspberry Old Leghumper won the Gold at the Great American Beer Festival. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, there is no other place on earth where a beer aficionado can find more beers on tap. It is the American brewing industry’s top public beer tasting and competition. It is held each year with roughly 40 thousand people taking in the largest beer festival in the world.

Since 2003 when a new group of investors took over the rights to bottle and distribute the beers, the company has continued to rack up the distinguished awards. Thirsty Dog Brewing now has a total of five World Beer Cups (Old Leghumper counting for two) and six Great American Beer Festival awards on their mantle.

Each of these beers is meticulously hand crafted in small batches using only the finest ingredients. It is this careful selection of ingredients, along with specially designed recipes and brewing processes that give Thirsty Dog beers their unique full flavor profiles which have enabled them to win these numerous awards. Old Leghumper for example uses imported Belgium chocolate malt to give this porter a rich, chocolaty taste. Siberian Night, a Russian Imperial Stout- the darkest beer made, received the bronze at the 2003 Great American Beer Festival and is also described as looking like motor oil when it is poured due to its richness. Right now it is ranked 20th in the world by ratebeer.com.

What originally started out as a combination of brainstorming which conceived the Old Leghumper name has turned out to be an award winning label. John Najeway Vice President of Marketing and Sales and one of the new partners that joined Bob Bolen, Gary Jones, brewmaster Fred Karm along with Ulo Konsen and Eric Konsen, designed these award winning packaging and marketing materials. In 2004, Old Leghumper won a Gold Addy and Hoppus Maximus won a Silver Addy from the Advertising Federation of America for their design and packaging of the labels and six pack carriers. The Advertising Federation of America is a juried panel which awards approximately 90 categories of marketing and advertising from radio, print, catalogue and beverage packaging to name a few. In addition, the Craft Brewers Association has recognized the Old Leghumper poster for the last three years in a row. So many times, advertising suckers you in to a nothing product, but that is definitely not the case with Thirsty Dog Brewing Company. They have cornered the market on both great taste and good looks.

Originally Thirsty Dog brews were only available through distributors in Ohio but since August of 2004, Thirsty Dog brews are now sold to distributors in Maryland, Kentucky, Indiana, and Pennsylvania, with plans to include Michigan, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and New England.Every two to three weeks the company will brew between 50 to 100 barrels and distribute them so that consumers will have the very freshest beer possible.

So this summer when you are looking for that cold one, follow John Najeway’s advice and “try a craft brewed beer and see why there is a place for all of us out there.” If you’d like to meet the folks at Thirsty Dog, they are putting on Brews, Blues and Burgers on the lawn, July 30th from 2-5pm at the Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens (home of F.A. Seiberling, the co-founder of Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.) in Akron, Ohio. Make sure your dressed for the occasion by purchasing a Thirsty Dog T-shirt from our store because July is American Beer Month.

For more information about Thirsty Dog, visit them at www.thirstydog.com. Also try the Great American Beer Festival at www.beertown.org.

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