Craft brewers Bliss Ave Brewing Co. excited for what’s to come

Madison Martin

When Louisville native Rob Coffey decided to turn his home-brewing hobby into a business, he never realized it would lead him to a prime location by downtown Bowling Green’s Fountain Square Park.

After meeting and marrying Madisonville native and WKU alum Jennifer, the Coffeys decided to set up shop in a town whose developing craft-beer scene was in need of more local breweries.

Rob Coffey learned to brew over the internet and even attended the Siebel Institute in Chicago to get qualified, professional training.

To Rob Coffey, craft beer “is the synthesis of engineering and art … It’s not necessarily exactly the same every time; it’s not supposed to be.”

In this type of business, Bliss Ave Brewing Company has to look out for with competitors like Budweiser, Coors and other large-scale disbursing breweries.

“Historically, the craft breweries worked well together because they saw the common enemy,” Rob Coffey said. “If they were competing with anyone, they were competing with Budweiser and the other big ones.”

Other local craft beer breweries, like White Squirrel Brewery, are regarded as friendly competition in Rob Coffey’s mind.

“We’ve had a lot of people that will come in that have just been to White Squirrel, or come here for drinks after dinner,” he said. “It’s that target market that specifically enjoys craft beer so we can’t be competitors because we want to target that group, we want to expand their available offerings.”

Bowling Green native and WKU alumni Lyle Perrigin said he appreciated the fact that new local breweries have been opening in his hometown. He and his party were “brewery hopping” on a Saturday night, starting at Bliss Ave Brewing Company.

Perrigin is a fan of craft beers because they have “invested their time and energy and money into making the beers, so it seems like a more personal experience than just going to a place that’s just distributing other people’s beers.”

The company, thus far, has only one beer on tap, a Hefeweizen called Monkey Barrel. They have had to supplement with a variety of guest craft brews due to delayed construction of the interior.

The brewery’s location, situated at 401 Park Row, hasn’t been utilized in over 10 years. According to Rob Coffey, the space was still covered in gravel this past March.

“We were supposed to get the building ready and finished in mid-June, but we actually ended up getting it an hour and a half before we opened,” Jennifer Coffey said. “Because of this, a desirable few weeks of brewing time prior to opening day was unable to happen.”

Eventually, the Coffey’s plan is to have four to six of their own beers on tap at a time. They currently own four 4-barrel fermenters that can produce up to 300 barrels of beer a year.

“I want to make the beers that I want to drink … that’s why I’m not going to be making the same thing over and over and over again,” Rob Coffey said.

In the future, the Coffeys are planning to be a part of a beer fest in October, the WKU tailgating experience, and to have a special brew release on Black Friday. For now, the Coffeys are eager for the beginning of the school year and the city’s return of WKU students.

“It’s exciting for us, it’s exciting for the whole town,” Jennifer Coffey said.