The majority of the 130-person staff at Jackie O’s Brewery (Athens, Ohio) graduated from Ohio University, which is less than a mile from the original Jackie O’s Pub on West Union Street and Public House, the brewery’s newer production facility on Campbell Street. Its owners, Brad Clark and Art Oestrike (pictured at top), are proud Bobcats alumni and even more ardent natives of the Buckeye State.
In 2005, the Athens brewpub O’Hooley’s went out of business and provided an opportunity for Clark, who had become obsessed with homebrewing and make-your-own-six-packs during his undergraduate years, and Oestrike, who at the time was running a bagel shop in town, to purchase the bar and brewing equipment. They named their new brewpub Jackie O’s as a nod to its Irish roots as O’Hooley’s and as an homage to Oestrike’s mother Jackie who had passed away six months earlier. Just two days after Clark graduated the next summer with his creative writing degree, he brewed his first all-grain batch of beer in Jackie O’s brewhouse.
The core lineup of beers hasn’t changed much since Jackie O’s first opened, and Clark says it’s a testament to the company’s convictions that they’ve held strong to over their eleven years. Jackie O’s flagships include an amber ale, raspberry wheat, honey nut brown, IPA, and rye IPA. “With the exception of the rye, the first four styles are indicative of what you would find at a mid-90s brewpub,” says Clark. “That was not intended, but it does tie into our roots. That happened organically, and it’s still working for us.”