Co-owners Chris Brohawn and JT Merryweather have broken the traditional entrepreneurial mold. Using modern architecture and design, they have created a space that attracts locals and visitors to their downtown Cambridge brewery. Adding to the neighborhood vitality, RAR Brewing has quickly become a desired destination in Dorchester County.
Brohawn said, “The best thing about doing business in Dorchester is the people we get to interact with. JT and I both grew up here, so it’s second nature for us.” Their home brew includes a couple of great selections: Bucktown Brown, a coffee-flavored brown ale, and Nanticoke Nectar, an IPA. Recently highlighted in the Washington Post as a “hip small-town bar,” RAR Brewing is gathering attention from near and far. The brewery officially opened in August 2013. They employee ten people and have future expansion plans that include adding to their beer lineup and distribution territories.
Local breweries act as economic drivers by creating jobs, drawing people to town, and serving as a daily destination point. According to the Beer Institute, the total economic impact of the beer industry in the state of Maryland is $3,137,895,300. There are 34,670 industry-related jobs in Maryland, and the total tax contribution is $785,233,900.
Dorchester County Economic Development Director Keasha Haythe worked with RAR’s co-owners to help secure $200,000 from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore’s Revolving Loan Fund. Haythe brought the project to the fund’s committee after working with Merryweather on the financial application. Comprised of lower shore economic development directors who serve as deal brokers, the program is a collaborative economic development initiative and invests in new and expanding companies in the lower four counties. The much anticipated craft beer manufacturer is Dorchester’s first brewery since Wild Goose was acquired in 1997.
In effort to attract businesses, market and unify the county, the Dorchester County Economic Development office developed the “water moves us” marketing campaign. This serves as the department’s brand identity as well as a multi-platform, cooperative marketing campaign to promote Dorchester’s assets and opportunities.
The branding initiative features seven local businesses used to showcase local industry. Chris Brohawn and JT Merryweather are featured together as one of the seven business faces promoting business start-ups in Dorchester County.
Brohawn and Merryweather are planning an anniversary party to celebrate RAR’s first year in business on August 2. To learn more about RAR Brewing and upcoming events, please visit realerevival.com.