Ohio craft beer delivery business Rivalry Brews uses the pandemic to its advantage

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The global health crisis that has been devastating many small businesses ended up being a catalyst for Adam Esker and friends to launch a company of their own.The concept for Rivalry Brews — a Medina-based craft beer delivery service currently shipping Northeast Ohio-made suds to three states (Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia) and Washington, D.C. — was set by CEO Esker and his managing partner, Jon Swaim, years ago as they were flying out of a sales conference in Las Vegas. Lots of folks ship wine, they thought, so what about beer?”Craft beer is exploding, and we want to be at the forefront of a business that doesn’t really exist in other places,” Esker said, especially as it relates to a focus on Ohio beers. Options from more than 20 craft breweries are currently offered on the Rivalry site, ranging from Thirsty Dog Brewing Co. (Akron), Fat Head’s Brewery (Middleburg Heights) and Sibling Revelry Brewing (Westlake) to Masthead Brewing Co. (Cleveland), Penguin City Brewing Co. (Youngstown) and MadTree Brewing (Cincinnati). Esker doesn’t ship the most widely available craft brands, like Great Lakes Brewing Co., because the idea is to offer products that wouldn’t be as readily available elsewhere. This gives Rivalry …

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