Saturday, July 18, 2015

My beer with Cezary Wlodarczyk, and what's up at Falls City, Old 502 and Over the 9.

I've been intending to publish this link for ages, and finally something happened this week to remind me.

First, the overview.

The home of Falls City Beer and Old 502 Winery on the edge of the Portland neighborhood is adding a new restaurant and bar called Over the 9, at

With a name referencing the emerging district west of 9th Street near downtown, Over the 9 is adjacent to the brewing and winemaking facilities for Old 502 and Falls City, at 120 S. 10th Street. The previous beer and wine tasting room is currently undergoing renovations to include an expanded, full-service bar and the facilities needed to accommodate a kitchen and table service.

Over the 9’s menu will be curated by Griffin Paulin, known for his culinary creativity with local restaurants Hammerhead’s and Roux, as well as the popular Ten Tables program.

Next, the ownership clarification.

The addition of a full-service restaurant and bar, Over the 9, comes on the heels of a leadership transition at Falls City. Louisville entrepreneur John Neace has acquired the ownership rights of Falls City Brewing Co., purchasing the storied beer brand from David Easterling. Neace first partnered with Easterling last year as an equity investor in a deal that resulted in Falls City co-locating with Old 502 Winery, which Neace also owns.

Here's the really interesting part, at least to this old roamer of Eastern European lands.

Neace has named Cezary Wlodarczyk president of Falls City Brewing Co. Wlodarczyk has extensive experience in the beverage alcohol business, including international marketing, sales and general management leadership roles with Brown-Forman, Nolet Spirits and Diageo. Past experience also includes leadership roles with Snapple and Procter & Gamble.

Cezary called me two weeks ago, and we met for a beer at Bank Street Brewhouse. It turns out that we're about the same age. He was born and raised in Gdansk, Poland, and his father worked at the Lenin Shipyards during the time of Solidarity. Later he moved to Mexico, then lived both in Miami and Louisville during the high-powered beverage career recapped above.

We had a wonderful discussion about Central European culture and history, barely even touching on current business affairs, although I'd like to learn more about what Cezary and Neace have in mind for Falls City.

Meanwhile, early "pre-reviews" of Over the 9 have been stellar. I plan on meeting Cezary there soon, and giving it a sample.

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