Here is a profile written by Liz in Spring of 2019 for Ohio On Tap magazine:
Fermentation goes back generations in my family. My great grandparents were Italian immigrants who made their living as winemakers—at times legally and at times slightly illegally (that’s an oxymoron if I’ve ever heard one). They were once caught with over 700 gallons of wine in their cellar. My grandpa always spoke about how they’d have their grapes delivered to them in the middle of the night, so it was not obvious just how much wine they were making in the late 1930s and 1940s. They made their legal living running a store in Youngstown, Ohio, but made their real living by selling wine for a quarter per glass in the back of the store on Sundays. The blue laws in place at the time outlawed the sale of alcohol on Sundays, so the Evangelista’s store was a place where you could go to get a drink and socialize on Sunday.
Fast forward to the 1970s, and this is when my dad started homebrewing beer. My dad once told me that “fermentation is in our dna.” And who knows if this is in part why I was attracted to brewing, but I like to think that maybe it’s possible. My dad passed his knowledge and hobby onto me and my husband, Donald. He was able to synthesize 40 years of brewing experience into what was most important. We started homebrewing with him in our early 20s in our kitchens. He is a mentor to us in more ways than one.
In 2012 we sold our house in Columbus and moved to Delaware to pursue our dream of opening a brewery. In July of 2013, Donald and I opened the brewery in downtown Delaware. We were and still are very proud to be Delaware’s first brewery since prohibition. Our business was designed to be small and operated mostly by us. We both quit our day jobs and have been all in on the brewery pretty much since the beginning. All beer served is brewed on site on our 1bbl system. Some people think we are crazy for brewing on such a small system, but we enjoy it. Brewing is literally what we do during the week to make a living, and we are proud of that. We feel like it’s a privilege to wake up in the morning and work for ourselves.
Staas Brewing specializes is Belgian and English style beers. We are known for brewing classic beer styles with occasional twists. Our flagship beers include our Belgian Quadrupel, which was featured in Fifty Must-Try Craft Beers of Ohio by Rick Armon, our Belgian Golden Strong Ale, and our seasonal Spruce Ale. We have foodtrucks most days we are open, as we have no kitchen. Our business hours are Thursday 4-11p, Friday 4-midnight and Saturday 3-midnight.
Donald and I are the sole owners of the business and we also operate a majority of the brewing and bartending. He is truly my best friend. We rely on each other for so much at home and at work. We split our brew days down the middle. Donald usually starts the day and I usually end it. We have one part time brewer by the name of John ford who usually comes in and brews a batch on weekends. We also have four bartenders who work part time for us, and they are really wonderful as well. Our team is small but mighty.
The heart and soul of our place are the regulars and the friendships formed at the pub. We pride ourselves on being a place that brings people together. This, even more so than brewing, is the most rewarding part of our job. At the end of the day brewing great beer and making money is essential to us, but bringing people together and making lasting friendships in the process is what has lead us to love what we do. This is what we bring to the craft beer scene—the concept that craft beer can act as an avenue to bring the community together.
As a woman in the brewery profession I’ve had my good days and bad days. Over the years many people have assumed that I don’t know anything about brewing, and that our operation is my husband’s business—that’s always a really tough pill to swallow. It’s very disheartening to not be taken legitimately in my professional field by some. And granted by no means does everyone think this way. But I consider myself to be a very ambitious and competent person, and to have to convince people that I am a relevant part of my profession is a bit draining and defeating at times. But if that’s the worst part of my day, then things must be good.
What I, and all other women in brewing and male dominated professions, bring to the profession is simple. It’s the normalization that women can be a part of male dominated fields. The only way we break gender stereotypes as a society is for women and men to literally go out there and do it. I think it’s important to normalize women in typically male dominated professions and vice versa, so that the kids we raise moving forward have a rounded vision as to what they can achieve. I have great respect for the women before me who enabled this vision for me—and my mother is definitely a part of that. She put herself through college in the 1960s, a time when few women pursued higher education. And she has tirelessly advocated for women’s causes. In part because of the women’s rights movement I had the opportunity to play three sports in junior high and high school—an experience that built my confidence and is a part of who I am today. So as I’m writing this, I’m realizing that I kind of have been paying it forward on a small scale over these past six years.