How it began…
Ben and Paris met over a beer at a local downtown staple. Both quickly recognized their common dream of opening a brewery. With Ben living in DC and Paris being a Ft. Wayne native, they continued discussing their dreams through a long distance friendship. After months of collaboration and Ben's move to Ft. Wayne, Hop River Brewing Company was born.
Our logo represents the elements of our founders' personal paths and Hop River's journey toward the future. The three stars of DC and the three rivers of Ft. Wayne, coming together to create something greater than their parts.
Meet the Team
Ben Jackson - Co-Founder & President
Ben left a 15-year career as an attorney in Washington, D.C., to co-found Hop River with Paris. A lifelong woodworker, maker, and tinkerer, Ben had been brewing at home for years, and Hop River is the perfect way to bring his passion for creating beautiful things to the stuff he loves to drink. Ben believes that great beer can bring people together, and that independent, local businesses are the key to Fort Wayne’s continued renaissance. He loves helping his brewery grow alongside his adopted hometown.
Paris McFarthing - Co-Founder & Vice President
Paris is a Fort Wayne native and his love of beer and small business has spanned many years. Having been born and raised in the city, Paris has had the benefit of observing and being a part of the evolution of Fort Wayne. He began his career working at several local small businesses throughout the city. While in college at IPFW, Paris purchased his first home brewing kit. That first home brewing kit, which he made on his parent’s stove, would prove to be the beginning of a love of craft beer. After college he found himself with the opportunity to purchase an iconic Fort Wayne business, Phil’s Hobby Shop. This opportunity would prepare him for his next big leap - co-founding Hop River Brewing Company.
Kevin Debs - Head Brewer
Kevin is a recent immigrant to Fort Wayne from his native Michigan. His passion for beer was born a decade ago while working and living in the Lyceum Tavern of London. Returning to America, he found the growing craft beer scene, and has brewed professionally and at home ever since. Kevin is active in Fort Wayne's beer community and looks forward to sharing a beer with locals.
Mary Corinne Lowenstein - Director of Marketing
Mary Corinne is a Fort Wayne native and recently moved back after 16 years of professional experience working in non-profit and formal education settings across the United States. In her former life, she promoted positive youth development through practical implementation within the community by creating and sustaining youth volunteer programs. Mary Corinne stumbled into Hop River during the initial stages of development and became employee #1 as the Director of Marketing. She brings excitement and a sense of community to the team, always looking for ways to network and share a good conversation over a local brew!
Zach Croy - Head Chef
Although Zach is from Fort Wayne, his culinary career started in Montpelier, Vermont at the New England Culinary Institute. His love of food has taken him back and forth from Vermont to Indiana, but he is very happy to have ended up back in his hometown sharing his passion for food with others. He's had the opportunity to cook at one of Indiana's best restaurant, Joseph Decuis. He helped start the Bravas food truck and Bravas Burgers, serving as the restaurant's first head chef. He shares his love and knowledge of food with you by developing solid recipes, using seasonal and local ingredients.
Amanda Wendt - Taproom Manager
Native to the Midwest, Amanda has called Fort Wayne home since 2004. She values the downtown community and strives to help with its continued growth and success. Over the past six years, she has served and tended bar at a handful of local establishments, passionate about the evolving culture in the heart of the city. The relationships formed over food and drinks are what she admires most about the industry. She is proud to be on the Hop River team and excited to have a beer with all her friends, old and new.
Lou Henry - Sales Representative
Lou was born and raised here in the Boomingdale neighborhood and after working several years in the service industry at both Coney Island and Columbia Street West, he did a stretch in the Army serving a year in Afghanistan. Spending the following 10 years selling beer for AALCO distributing, developing relationships and home brewing, Lou decided to pursue his dream of opening his own bar and restaurant, Sweet Lou's Pizza. After realizing that time with his wife and five sons was more important, he closed his business to get back into the workforce. His passion for local independent businesses led him to Hop River to further expand the goal of getting the best local beers to our community.