FRESNO – Like so many craft breweries, it has a unique name. The Wooly Pig Farm Brewery. How’d they come up with a name like that? Well, it all started with the brewmaster himself, Kevin Ely.
And it all started on a European bicycle trip.
“I would regularly travel to Bavaria and Franconia in Germany,” Ely explained, “to go to expositions, source equipment, work with brewing engineers and visit breweries.”
“On one of my trips,” he continued, “I was riding a bike through the Fränkishe Schweitz (Frankonian Switzerland) and I saw a wooly pig with piglets. The piglets were striped like a wild fawn deer. I took a few pictures and eventually returned home.”
“A few years later,” he added, “we had the farm and a few wooly Mangalitsa pigs, so we settled on the name Wooly Pig Farm Brewery. Pretty straightforward, I guess.”
Straightforward? Hmm. Unique? Definitely.
Kevin Ely, now 42, grew up in Utah, Colorado, California, Arizona and Oregon “riding motorcycles, bicycles, skateboards, fishing, boating, camping and generally running around outside.”
He went to high school in both Colorado and California, then college in Northern California to study biochemistry and brewing science.
But Ohio called, largely because of his wife’s family in the area. They bought their 90-acre farm in 2014, built the brewery with help from family and friends, and opened for business December of 2017.
“I don’t brew beer, I leave that to the expert,” said Ely’s wife of nine years, Jael Malenke. “Mostly I’m in charge of the tap room and business side of the brewery.”
Now, with lots of family help, they welcome visitors from “0-to-90” to a place they call “very family-friendly” – with one little twist.
“We don’t have cell phone service,” Ely concluded. “And people actually really like that.”
About Wooly Pig
Wooly Pig Farm Brewery is located at 23631 Township Road 167 in Fresno. For more information, call 740-693-5050 or log on www.woolypigfarmbrewery.com.
About the Series
Aces of Trades is a weekly series focusing on people and their jobs – whether they’re unusual jobs, fun jobs or people who take ordinary jobs and make them extraordinary. If you have a suggestion for a future profile, let us know at [email protected]