Samuel Smith Brewery taps first keg outside of UK in Northeast Ohio; Cleveland rejoices

BEDFORD HEIGHTS, OH (WOIO) - The Oatmeal Stout was flowing at the Miles Road Winking Lizard, and this was not just any old Oatmeal Stout.

For the first time ever, the Samuel Smith Brewery, in business for over 260 years, was tapping a keg in the United States -- or anywhere for that matter -- outside of the United Kingdom.

Samuel Smith, the 11th generation of Samuel Smith brewers said Cleveland was a natural choice for the first international tap.

The Ohio restaurant has sold its beer, in bottles, very successfully for years here, since the early 80s.

"There's a fantastic beer movement here, there's a lot of people who really appreciate great beer," Smith said.

Another reason Smith picked Cleveland, and the Winking Lizard, is that the Lizard was on the ground floor of the craft beer movement.

Five years before Great Lakes Brewing Company, the first micro-brewery in the state opened its doors.

The Winking Lizard was selling craft beers from around the world, they were on to something.

"We don't eat just processed cheese any more. We don't eat processed bread anymore, this artisan movement, in all walks of life, has gained a lot of momentum and craft beer is a big portion of that," said John Lane, one of the co-owners of the Winking Lizard.

The Winking Lizard partnered with Merchant du Vin, a local importer to get the Samuel Smith kegs to Cleveland.

A fiercely independent brewer that refuses to sell to a bigger brewer, Samuel Smith Brewery instead stays true to their craft and the people in Cleveland appreciate that, Smith believes.

"These are skills that were built up over centuries that have been passed down from generation to generation over the past 260 years," said Smith.

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