Let’s get it out of the way from the get-go… Bad Tom Smith has been the center of a lot of beer-geek controversy in the last year or two, and many drinkers would say that it’s for good reason. They struggled with consistency issues, they struggled early on with some name and identity issues.
But I have defended who they are at the core… I believe that the bones of this brewery can make something special for Cincinnati and her drinkers.
For this reason I was curious and excited when I heard back in late April that the majority stake in the brewery had been purchased by John Vojtush and Sheryl Gittens. After the latest episode of Cincy BrewCast where Mike broke the rumor of a tie-in with Paradise Brewing on Beechmont Ave, I knew I had to figure out what was going on with Bad Tom Smith, and after taking a few moments to talk to John the curiosity was quickly outpaced by the excitement for what this brewery might have in store for it’s future.
First thing is first… let’s talk this mysterious tie-in with Paradise. It’s official… Jeff Graff is now the new Brewmaster of Bad Tom Smith brewing. As for what this means for the brewery, and the beer? Consistency. Quality. You will most likely see some tweaking of the recipes, but I’m told that for the most part they will stay close to what they currently are… Just better. Bad Tom Smith has always had a wonderful story behind the brewery…even if it took them a little time to really get a feel for it. The brewery will still take on that same feel, and with Sheryl as the new president of the brewery, it will be run similar to an old-time saloon, with a strong, beautiful woman at it’s helm, only this brewery will be more polished than ever before.
Sean Smith, the brewery’s name sake is still with the operation. They made a strong point to let us know that they needed to take some of the pressure off of his shoulders, and allow him to do what he does best. There is a lot of other things at work here in the operation and the ownership team that will be coming out in the next few months that I have been asked to not reveal quite yet from a few different parties…. despite how much it kills me to not be able to tell you more, I can promise you that there is a lot of other great news about the team that is building around Bad Tom Smith.
The team has been hand picked and now they will spend the next several months tearing what was Bad Tom Smith apart and rebuilding it from it’s very roots.
They want a better taproom experience when you go to Bad Tom for a drink. The near future will see some changes to their space to make it a bit more enjoyable, but they recognize that the bones that are most solid about the brewery have very little to do with their current location, which is why 2016 will hopefully see them in a new location with a new brew system and more importantly and new attitude.
Bad Tom Smith is here to stay. So for a certain local beer blogger who told me they would be the next brewery to close in Cincinnati, you are wrong. Don’t forget to get my 12 pack of beer that you bet me cold before you deliver it to me.
As for what you need to do. You need to erase what you think you know about Bad Tom Smith… you need to give them another shot. With the release of their new Wickked Sheryl’s Blush Pale Ale this week, and next weeks release of their new Blonde Ale, you should try their beer again. This rebuilding period will require some patience… they just let me know that they weren’t going to be able to do Lunken Beerfest again this year, but promised that they’d be busy with things to strengthen the core of Bad Tom.
We all love a new brewery…. and this is the next best thing. An old brewery, kept open and made better. Stay tuned for more updates! You can always find Bad Tom Smith at their Facebook page, or their Twitter account.