New brewery on Film Row taking beer back to basics

Published Wednesday, January 30, 2019
by Molly M. Fleming

Although west downtown is home to several breweries, the Film Row Historic District is getting its first.

Core4 will open by late spring in The Paramount building, which sits at the northwest corner of W. Sheridan Avenue and N. Lee Avenue.

In the 3,000-square-foot space, co-owners Marty Simon and his wife, Amy Simon, and Kris “Buck” Buchanan and his wife, Jill Buchanan, are taking beer back to its four basic ingredients: barley, hops, yeast and water.

“Our niche will be a traditional, approachable style to craft beer,” said Marty Simon, head brewer.

Simon has been home-brewing for six years and is a member of the Red Earth Brewers group. Simon and Kris Buchanan play in a band together, so Simon would often bring his home-brewed beer to practice.

“(Simon) fell in love with yeast,” said Buchanan, who is the sales and marketing director.

Simon added, “It’s your own little army. It works for you.”

Since the men had both turned 40 years old, they started looking at their current jobs and thought it was time to branch out and try something else.

With Buchanan’s support, Core4 became its own operation and they’ve been touring the beer festivals. In May, they started visiting spaces in the city to set up their own microbrewery. They’ll have a 3.5-barrel system.

The two couples looked at places in Automobile Alley and in the Historic Farmers Market. When they were called about The Paramount building, the price worked for their budget.

If it didn’t work for the budget, Amy Simon would have let them know. She’s the general manager. She joked that she’s become the downer in the group because she’s had to control the spending.

Core4 will be the first brewery within the historic Film Row district boundaries and OK Cider Co. is opening next door. But there are other breweries in the neighborhood already. Angry Scotsman Brewing is opened at 704 W. Reno Ave. Anthem Brewing Co. is at 908 SW Fourth St. Stonecloud Brewing Co. is at 1012 NW First St. and Lively Beerworks will open this summer at 812 SW Second St.

Buchanan said Angry Scotsman owner Ross Harper and Twisted Spike Brewing Co. owner Bruce Sanchez have been helpful in getting Core4 opened.

Harper said that yes, in a traditional business sense, it may seem odd to help someone who could be his competitor. But the brewing industry is different.

“The craft beer industry isn’t your typical competitive business model,” Harper said. “I think the Film Row District/west downtown has the potential to be a really solid craft beer district. It’s all about collaboration. The more breweries we have, then we create a district and a destination.”

He said Denver, Colorado has several breweries and more than Oklahoma City. But they all strive off of each other’s presence.

Harper said that despite the company’s name, he’s actually a nice guy. He considers the Core4 team to be good friends. They’re also his customers.

Amy Simon said seeing this collaboration in an industry is different to her, coming from a more traditional business background.

Core4 is still under construction. On Tuesday, the floor was cut through for plumbing work to start.

Buchanan called it the point of no return. They’ve been spending money on getting to this point.

“We have to see this through and it feels great,” he said. “Don’t get me wrong, it still feels scary.”

The taproom will be on the Lee Avenue side of the building. There will be a covered outdoor patio space with a garage door that can open on nice days.

The small-barrel size allows for a lot of variety at the brewery.

“We’re making beer for the neighborhood,” Buchanan said.

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