Farmers worried about heavy rain forecast

Published: Thursday, August 30, 2012 @ 9:56 PM
Updated: Thursday, August 30, 2012 @ 9:59 PM

The prospect of heavy rains this weekend is not filling every farmer’s heart with joy.

Winegrape growers in the Miami Valley and throughout Ohio are watching the remnants of Hurricane Isaac with a wary eye, because heavy rains at or near harvest can wreak havoc on the quality of the grapes and on the taste of the resulting wines.

WHIO-TV Storm Center 7 Chief Meteorologist Jamie Simpson said even though the precise track of the former hurricane is not known, Isaac could dump two to five inches of rain on the area by the end of Labor Day. That would be a good first step toward easing the drought that has bedeviled farmers this summer.

But is also might complicate the harvest of certain varieties of wine grapes that are approaching peak maturity, Ohio winegrape specialists say. Prolonged rain at harvest time can cause thin-skinned grapes to expand and split their skins, which in turn can lead to rot or to unwanted attention from insects. And the water that gorges the grapes can knock the sugars and palate-friendly acids out of balance and dilute the flavors of the resulting wine.

Joe Schuchter, part of the third generation of the family that owns and operates Valley Vineyards near Morrow in Warren County, said vineyard workers there are accelerating the harvest of some grape varieties that have ripened sufficiently. “We’ll pick until the rain starts, and for a little while after, because it takes a while for the grapes to absorb the moisture,” Schuchter said.

The winery’s “vinifera” grapevines — varieties such as chardonnay and cabernet franc that are native to Europe and are most recognizable to consumers — ripen later in the fall and should weather this storm without damage, Schuchter said.

James Brandeberry, owner and winemaker of Brandeberry Winery in Clark County northwest of Yellow Springs, said he intends to leave his grapes on the vine. “They are not ready to pick yet,” Brandeberry said of his seyval blanc, vidal blanc and cayuga grape varieties growing in his estate vineyard. “I’ll take my chances.”

The ground is so dry that a heavy, brief rain may not soak into the ground enough to bloat the grapes, the winery owner said.

Todd Steiner, enology program manager and winemaking specialist at Ohio State University’s agricultural research center in Wooster, said the current rain forecast “is not a vintage-breaker” for Ohio winemakers and grape growers.

“But I wouldn’t want to see too many other Isaacs come through here and settle right over us” in the weeks ahead, Steiner said. “That would break the harvest.”

The Ohio wine and grape industry had an economic impact of $582.8 million, employed 4,000 people, provided a payroll of $124.2 million and contributed an estimated $62 million back in state, local and federal tax revenue, according to the industry’s 2008 Economic Impact report, its most recent impact report.

Woman sues Jelly Belly for not listing sugar as ingredient in its Sport Beans

Published: Thursday, May 25, 2017 @ 5:49 PM

Neilson Barnard

A California woman has sued Jelly Belly, claiming it engaged in deceptive labeling and advertising practices by promoting its Sports Beans as a performance aid.

Jessica Gomez filed the class-action lawsuit earlier this year, according to Legal Newsline.

>> Read more trending news

At the heart of Gomez's complaint is that the company used evaporated cane juice instead of sugar in the Sports Beans ingredients list. In 2016, the FDA issued a guidance urging companies not to substitute the term evaporated cane juice for sugar. However, the FDA recommendations are not legally binding, according to Forbes.

Gomez claimed she would not have bought the product if Jelly Belly had been truthful about the product’s ingredients instead of advertising that the Sports Beans are suitable for athletes and contain carbohydrates, electrolytes and vitamins. 

According to Forbes, Jelly Belly stated in a motion to dismiss that the lawsuit is "nonsense." The company defended its Sports Beans product, and said the sugar content is clearly stated on the label's Nutrition Facts panel.

MillerCoors’ Butler County brewery recognized for environmental efforts

Published: Thursday, May 25, 2017 @ 1:28 PM
Updated: Thursday, May 25, 2017 @ 5:16 PM

            Ohio EPA honored the MillerCoors Trenton Brewery in St. Clair Twp. Thursday, May 25, 2017, to recognize the facility s many achievements in environmental stewardship in the local community. The brewery achieved gold-level recognition in Ohio EPA s Encouraging Environmental Excellence (E3) program. ERIC SCHWARTZBERG/STAFF
            Eric Schwartzberg

The Ohio EPA honored the MillerCoors Trenton Brewery in St. Clair Twp. last week for its achievements in environmental stewardship.

Speaking during a flag-raising event at the facility, which employs 515 people, Ohio EPA Director Craig Butler detailed how the brewery achieved gold-level recognition in Ohio EPA’s Encouraging Environmental Excellence (E3) program.

MillerCoors has substantially reduced water use, reduced emissions and eliminated waste going to the landfill, Butler said. In addition, the company is heavily engaged in protecting ground water, “understanding that clean water is vital to the company economically and to the local environment and public health,” he said.

MORE: Trenton brewery to convert waste water into fish feed

“You’ve got a fantastic sustainability program here,” Butler told MillerCoors employees. “This, to us, shows this high level of commitment. You could easily say ‘I collect all this waste. I send it to the landfill. I send it to the waste water plant across the street. We meet our compliance targets and we just move on.’ It takes some really innovative thinking, it takes thinking from the ground up.

“A lot of these (initiatives) are employee driven and that shows a broad level of support and commitment to it, as well.”

Ohio EPA’s E3 program recognizes businesses and other organizations for completing environmentally beneficial activities and serves as an incentive for companies to commit to ongoing environmental stewardship.

E3 recognition has four levels: Achievement, Silver, Gold and the newest Platinum level, all requiring a commitment to meet or exceed environmental regulatory requirements, Ohio EPA officials said.

Achievement is base level recognition, Silver Level recognizes outstanding accomplishments in environmental stewardship and Gold Level recognizes comprehensive environmental stewardship programs.

The company received the Silver Level award in 2014, according to Todd Washing, technical services manager for MillerCoors Trenton Brewery

Only 28 companies statewide have achieved gold-level recognition, and what stands out about each, Butler said, is “teamwork and commitment to (going) beyond environmental compliance.”

“Not just the idea of compliance with state or federal law, but an internal commitment often driven by employees that says ‘We want to do better and we want to be recognized for that,’” he said.

MORE: MillerCoors’ Butler County brewery toasts 25 years

Brewery employees continuously strive to improve in the amount of energy and water used every day, Washing said.

“We all live in these communities nearby, we have neighbors that are fairly close and it’s the right thing to do,” he said. “The fact that we’re being recognized for doing that is just icing on the cake.”

A Sustainability Council comprised of members of each department across the brewery works to identify and track improvement opportunities and sustain those improvements through routine inspections and other standard work, Washing said.

“Mark Koch, our environmental engineer, helps guide their activities to identify new opportunities to reduce our energy and water usage, improve our environmental footprint, things of that nature, and then help sustain those gains after the fact,” he said. “Our employees are really the key to all of the environmental (and) sustainability improvements that you’ve seen over the years.”

The brewery, MillerCoors’ second largest, became the first MillerCoors facility to become a “zero waste” facility. None of the plant’s waste material has gone to landfills since 2009. It is either recycled or sent to businesses that turn food waste into energy production.

RELATED: MillerCoors’ efforts to make breweries landfill-free started in Trenton

Washing said the brewery has reduced overall energy use by 38 percent since 2011, which came from a number of initiatives, including switching from coal-fired utilities plant to a natural gas-fired utilities plant in early 2016.

Doing so reduced emissions by more than 91 metric tons annually, a reduction that contributed to removing a regional low-emission gasoline requirement, saving Southwest Ohio motorists money at the gas pump, company officials said.

MillerCoors Trenton Brewery also has significantly reduced water use, consistently exceeding the industry standard in their water-to-beer ratio, and even set a brewery record last June by using only 2.71 gallons of water for every gallon of beer.

The facility also saved energy by installing more efficient lighting and, on the wastewater side, reducing nutrient discharges to the Great Miami River.

For more about the E3 program and the nomination process, visit

Dorothy Lane launches home-delivery service

Published: Thursday, May 25, 2017 @ 11:49 AM
Updated: Thursday, May 25, 2017 @ 11:50 AM

            Dorothy Lane Market, with three locations in the Dayton area, just launched a new grocery delivery service. PHOTO/PROVIDED

Dorothy Lane Market is adding home delivery as an option to its online grocery shopping and curbside pick-up service launched earlier this year called DLM Drive-Up.

Groceries can be ordered for deliver at in neighborhoods surrounding the three Dorothy Lane locations in the following zip codes: 45066, 45409, 45419, 45429, 45440, 45458, and 45459, according to a company statement.

RELATED: Two new upgrades coming to Dorothy Lane Market

“Right now, we want to focus on the areas nearby our stores and then expand from there,” said Sarah Linville, DLM Drive-Up manager. “With the success of our curbside pick-up, we think this is just an additional way DLM Drive-Up can make people’s lives easier, whether they are crunched for time or are unable to get out of the house for whatever reason.”

Dorothy Lane is offering delivery service at a time when an increasing number of national grocery chains, including Cincinnati-based Kroger, have established their own delivery services and online shopping sites in the local area.

RELTED: Grocery wars: Shoppers benefit from grocers duking it out

All grocery orders placed via will be sourced from Dorothy Lane’s Washington Square location for both curbside and home delivery.

Although curbside pick-up is offered seven days a week, delivery will be available from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

There will be a $5.99 “shoppers fee” added to every order placed for curbside pickup, and a $9.99 fee for home delivery.

Fairfield brewery: Swine City Brewing plans summer debut

Published: Thursday, May 25, 2017 @ 3:28 PM

            Swine City Brewing plans to open this summer at 4614 Industry Drive in Fairfield. The new business will feature a large indoor tasting room and a 1.6-acre outdoor area with a 2,600-square-foot patio. CONTRIBUTED PHOTOS

Swine City Brewing plans to open this summer at 4614 Industry Drive in Fairfield.

The new business will feature a large, indoor tasting room and a 1.6-acre outdoor area with a 2,600-square-foot patio, according to co-owner Daniel Ebben, of Fairfield.

Swine City will feature a few regular offerings, as well as an ever-changing tap list, Ebben said. Beers will be available to drink on site in Swine City’s taproom or packaged to go.

MORE: Cincinnati brewery creates Fiona-inspired beer

“We look to brew a variety of styles, plus wine and cider in the near future,” Ebben said. “We intend to be a family-friendly facility with private outdoor areas for small and large events.”

The venue also offers ample indoor and outdoor seating areas and a stage for live music, he said.

Swine City Brewing will launch operations in the 5,000-square-foot building with four 10-barrel tanks, one 15-barrel tank and three 7-barrel wine fermenters.

MORE: Rivertown Brewing in Monroe includes restaurant

The business is family- and employee-owned and comprised of industry professionals who “all wear many hats,” said Ebben who handles production and brewing. That includes Fairfield residents Debby Ebben (onsite management and ordering), Jeffrey Herring (packaging and distribution), Chris Schulz (marketing and taproom manager), plus Claire Von Saucken (events and accounting), of Charlotte, N.C. and Justin Chaney (head brewer), of Springfield Twp.

“It’s pretty common for all of us to be there on a brew day and we’ll hang out and serve, too,” Ebben said. “We love the interaction with our customers and it’s the best test of our product.”

MORE: New brewery near Kings Island plans more than beer

The company’s owners, who have “a lot of years” of brewing under their belts, already have produced blonde and cream ales, saison, sour-style brews and stouts, but have not yet decided on which styles will comprise Swine City’s regular offerings.

The business is in the middle of building its bar and adding two ADA-compliant restrooms to the site, which most recently housed a scaffolding company. It plans to open this summer.

So why open a brewery?

“I’ve always enjoyed brewing,” Ebben said. “The art and culture surrounding the end product has always been intriguing. Recent changes in laws allowing us to more easily operate tasting rooms in Ohio (helped), as well as the raising of the ABV limit has allowed for more creativity.”

OTHER: Microbrewery, taproom coming to West Chester

As for why Fairfield got the nod, Ebben said the city “is a nice place to raise a family and to start a business.”

“The community is welcoming and the city couldn’t be easier to work with,” he said. “We called and attempted to have meetings with other local municipalities and Fairfield was the most responsive.”

Ebben said in the course of his search for the perfect site for Swine City Brewing, he happened upon a property that “needed some love” and happens to be five minutes from his home. “I’ve been a Fairfield resident almost all of my life, so it just​ works out,” he said. “I like the location because of its ample outdoor area and being close to a few major thoroughfares.”

MORE: Hamilton brewery’s beer will soon be available in more places

For more information, visit or call 513-201-7070.