Craft breweries are everywhere now, and Mason is no exception, but it wasn’t that long ago that Mason didn’t have any. 16 Lots, founded by Mike Burton, is the first of many.
16 Lots was opened not long after Burton moved to Mason in July 2016. As a craft beer enthusiast “from the consumer side,” he noticed the lack of craft breweries in Mason.
“When I left my corporate job in October 2016 I had the opportunity to truly focus and begin development in earnest,” said Burton, a former chief marketing officer at Sunny Delight Beverages Company. “I started writing the business plan in November, raised some money, borrowed some more, and we opened 10 months later in September of 2017.”
Fitting for a history-making brewery, the name has ties to Mason’s history. In 1803, Major William Mason, founder of the city, purchased 640 acres of land, which he platted into 16 lots. Those 16 lots, plus an additional 40 lots purchased in 1832, eventually became the city of Mason.
16 Lots sells a variety of beers brewed in-house, ranging from traditional German style lagers to IPAs to Bourbon Barrel Aged Stouts. Like the name of the brewery itself, some of the names have ties to Mason history, such as Palmyra (a previous name for Mason) and Muddier Creek (a reference to Muddy Creek, a tributary of the Little Miami River along which William Mason purchased his original 16 lots). 16 Lots also serves cider, seltzer, wine and a few mixed drinks. It shares the space with Mad Monks Pizza.
The brewery frequently hosts special events, such as live music, trivia nights, board game nights, and Singo (like Bingo, but with singing).
As with any business, managing a brewery takes effort in every area, from inventory management to guest satisfaction. The hardest part, Burton said, is “finding your niche and truly leveraging it to the fullest.” But the effort and difficulties of running a brewery are worth it to him.
“I love the camaraderie of the industry. Everyone genuinely likes each other and helps each other out,” Burton says. “I also like not having the corporate grind and being my own boss.”
16 Lots has expanded into Kentucky, opening Southern Outpost at Newport on the Levee on Friday (May 19).
“We are excited to provide an exceptional experience to people that already know our brand well, and for those that have yet to experience what we have to offer due to us being in Mason,” Burton said.
HOW TO GO
16 Lots is located at 753 Reading Road in Mason.
The Southern Outpost is at 1 Levee Way #218 in Newport.
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