Behind Bars: Nai Hill-Boone at BrewDog

Erica Thompson
Photo by Julian Foglietti

The sprawling, 42-acre BrewDog USA headquarters in Canal Winchester includes not only the brewhouse but a taproom, beer museum, dog park and a brand-new hotel, which is attracting out-of-towners and Canal Winchesters alike.

“I think they're just really happy that, no matter where they live, they're like, ‘I can drink and literally walk 10 feet [to my room]?'” said taproom manager Nai Hill-Boone, who was hired when the facility opened in 2017.

One of the most distinctive features of the property is the artwork. Craig Fisher's sharks and other sea creatures can be found everywhere, from the glorious mural on the outside of the facility to the wall of the hotel gym.

“He's phenomenal,” Hill-Boone said. “He always shows animals eating each other. You don't really realize it [at first]. It's like, ‘Oh, shit. This is an intense moment in picture.'”

Dogs may not be featured in the art, but they are welcome in the building. BrewDog books at least four dog birthday parties a week.

“They get doggie treats for each dog, and they get dog cupcakes,” Hill-Boone said. “We have dog beer that we offer. It's basically fruits and vegetables stewed. … People bring the dog's friends.”

Among the beer for adults, the grapefruit-infused IPA, Elvis Juice, is the top seller. Hill-Boone, who has a background in restaurant management, remembers falling in love with craft beer during her college days.

“One of my friends had just turned 21, and he was like, ‘We're gonna try Great Lakes Chillwave,'” she said. “And I remember being like, ‘Holy shit, what is this?' … I went to OSU and drank Natty Light for a long time. It was a big transition.”

“I can admit that even though I was really into craft beer, I didn't know there were more than like four styles,” she continued.

Today, Hill-Boone helps BrewDog customers make the same leap.

“A big part of it is being able to educate the customer and give them that above-and-beyond experience,” she said. “We try to help them find themselves.”

According to Hill-Boone, it's not uncommon to hear, “What's your closest thing to Bud Light?”

“We have something for that, though,” she said. “We have a lot of induction beers for people who are trying to get in the craft beer world. … We just let them explore a little bit rather than just trying to sell them a beer.”