Beer- and winemaking-supplies business opens on Cherry Street

Anthony Dominic

When Adam Simms and Matt Pruszynski opened Label Peelers in the spring of 2012, they did not anticipate their beer- and winemaking-supplies business would outgrow its Tallmadge location for at least three years. Barely one year later, the business owners were looking for a larger facility — this time, in Kent.

On Oct. 4, Simms and Pruszynski hosted a grand opening of their new store at 211 Cherry St.

Label Peelers has a unique business model: For now, they only sell beer and winemaking supplies. This includes hundreds of items such as sanitation kits, fermenters, bottles and corks. They also host free beermaking classes the first Saturday of every month, as well as winemaking classes the second Saturday of every month.

“In theory, you walk away understanding the process,” Simms said of the classes. “Fermentation, bottling — that sort of thing.”

At 6,400 square feet, the new location is more than three times the size of their Tallmadge site. The new facility is both a retail store and a shipping and supply garage, which will complement their large online business. Simms said 80 percent of their sales are online; of those sales, more than three quarters are to out-of-state clients, primarily in California, Florida and Texas.

But Simms said he and Pruszynski have larger plans. Since securing their new facility, they have applied for an A2 state permit to manufacture and sell wine, with the intent of turning the front of the store into a wine bar. Simms said the licensing process will likely take between six and nine months, which means the bar would open by next summer.

Simms and Pruszynski are also collaborating with a friend, new Venice Café owner Mike Beder, to launch Kent’s first nanobrewery. The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau’s website defines nanobreweries only as “very small brewery operations,” but they are typically independent breweries that produce no more than two or three barrels of beer at a time.

After Beder secures state licensing, Simms said Label Peelers will install the brewery equipment at Venice Café. In an email, Beder said everything is still in the “planning stages,” but Venice Café will eventually host the classes offered by Label Peelers as well as a monthly meeting of the Kent Homebrewers Association.

While Simms hopes Label Peelers will help cultivate a culture of artisan beer and winemaking in Kent, he’s just happy to be part of the city’s “booming” business market.

“There’s just so much happening,” Simms said of Kent. “And you’re not normally in a town where half of the population is rotating every four years. It’ll be exciting.”

Contact Anthony Dominic at [email protected].