Scratch Brewing Company is a farmhouse brewery located five miles from the Shawnee National Forest in Ava, Illinois. Named one of the top four breweries for foraged beer by Outside Magazine, and one of the most beautiful places to drink beer in the world by All About Beer Magazine, Scratch Brewing Company focuses on farmhouse beers and other styles brewed with home grown and locally farmed and foraged ingredients. The brewery has an ever rotating selection of styles enhanced by the innovative addition of local ingredients, such as nettle, elderberry, ginger, dandelion, maple sap, hickory, lavender, juniper, and chanterelle mushrooms. <br /><br />
Owners Marika Josephson and Aaron Kleidon create beer with a diverse array of farmed and foraged ingredients that showcase the "terroir" of Southern Illinois. Aaron is in charge of identifying and collecting ingredients, while Marika is the head brewer; they are joined by lead production brewer Frank Wesseln. Kris Pirmann and Adriane Koontz, founders of River to River Farms in Ozark, Illinois, are the brewery's full-time farmers, monitoring the extensive gardens, helping to forage and process plants for the beer and kitchen, and taking charge of the on-site baking and pickle-making. David Wright joined Scratch in January of 2017 and manages the brewery's tap room, events, and aids in out-of-state distribution. <br /><br />
In 2016, the brewery published a book on brewing with farmed and foraged ingredients called The Homebrewers Alamanac (more below), and won its first Great American Beer Festival medal for Oyster Weiss, a Berliner Weisse-style beer brewed with oyster mushrooms and turmeric. Scratch now bottles special release offerings and distributes beer to select bars and liquor stores in Illinois and in half a dozen other states, though most is sold in house. In January 2017 the brewery expanded its tasting room space with the opening of the Serpent Room, a collaborative project with artist Brett Douglas Hunter, who brought the room to life with his original art and sculptures. The Serpent Room is available to rent for private events and for non-profits.