About Us

In 1948 my grandfather and grandmother purchased 12 acres of land on the south shore of a place called Kelleys Island. Dan Gibbons was a fisherman and wanted to retire from his post office job in Cleveland and live on the lake. In 1954 my mom had had 3 dates with my dad. When Dan died suddenly, Jay came up to help them through the funeral. What the ladies were going to do with commercial land was beyond them. My mom and dad were married in 1956.

In 1960 when Neuman’s ferry moved from downtown, my parents (Jay and Pat) and grandmother (Ruth), decided to put a Dairy Isle on the property across the street to service the people coming to and from the island. Whipped ice milk cones, shakes and various grilled items were available seasonally and we worked each weekend and summer with the other island kids.

In 1988 we added the Island Café, which was 10 picnic tables surrounded by a screen with the best views of the lake for hot breakfast and lunch and a lot of desserts. This served the island well for years and while I was a school teacher, it was a great summer job.

Somewhere in the mid 90s when craft breweries and specifically Great Lakes Brewery were changing the way people drank beer and ate food, I had the opportunity to go to a brew pub conference and began studying the feasibility of putting a small brewery on the island. A few days after opening, while Doug was on vacation from his job in Toledo as a machine builder, he stopped in for a beer. After a few repairs to the new equipment that was malfunctioning, he asked me out on a date. In 2002 after some major transitions, he came on as the full time brewer. In 2006 we were married.

With a lot of friends support we put in a 3.5 barrel system in 1999, and it opened Memorial day weekend. As the 30 years of breakfast at the Island Café, the Kelleys Island Brewery is a labor of Love.

We still do breakfast lunch and desserts but with Doug steering the brewery, we also do some of the greatest niche beers: Belgians, Browns, IPAs and an English Bitter round out our diverse collection of ales.

Each year our team is filled with special individuals that build memories on an island that is special to them for the rest of their lives, just as it is for us to see the people we have known here since we sold ice cream in the 1970s.

Whether you are here for an Island Devil, and Anniversary Ale, a Dawg Bizkit brown, a dessert or a breakfast with a bloody mary, thank you for spending your time with us and making memories on Kelleys Island.

The Kelleys Island Brewery has become a favorite venue for weddings, reunions and landmark birthday celebrations while maintaining a full service restaurant and brewery.
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