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Beer-loving entrepreneurs hop head-first into venture

BY STEVE LACKMEYER Modified: February 5, 2009 at 1:29 pm •  Published: February 5, 2009
J.D. Merryweather will quickly admit that his latest business venture also involves one of his greatest passions — beer.

For the past three years Merryweather has plotted to open COOP Ale Works brewery, an endeavor inspired by a visit he and friend Mark Seibold made to a "Beer and Bull” session hosted by the Central Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

"We were looking at the beer in there,” Merryweather said. "And we talked about how sad it was that none of it was local. We saw that this could be a great niche.”

Turning that idea into reality wasn’t seen as far-fetched by Merryweather, who also works as a commercial photographer.

"I’ve been a beer lover and a wine lover for quite a while,” Merryweather said. "Typically I’ll pick wines when I’m out with others eating, we’ll mix it up. I moved onto beer, and beer has been it for the past few years now.”

Merryweather and Seibold sealed the deal when they added a third partner, Daniel Mercer, and head brewer Chase Healey, who had several of his recipes to bring into the venture.

Currently, 42 barrels are in production. Merryweather said his brewery joins Huber Brewery as the only two operating in Oklahoma City.

"A lot of cities this size have several,” Merryweather said.

Merryweather said the micro- and production brewery’s location, 1124 NW 51, next to the 51st Street Speakeasy club, allows for tastings at the club without the brewery having to open its own tasting facilities.

"We looked at four different places before settling here,” Merryweather said.


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