Former MSU football players team up once again to found Ohio brewery
When Brandon Fields was visiting Michigan State as a high school punting prospect, Chris Morris was asked to show him around during his recruiting stop. Morris, an offensive lineman, refused that request as he wanted nothing to do with a punter. While they may not have become friends that day, the two would get better acquainted throughout their time at Michigan State playing under Mark Dantonio.
After their college football days, Morris and Fields both went on to play in the NFL but it's their post-playing career that brought the two back together. Fields came up with the idea with his wife Katie to found a brewery in his hometown of Sylvania, Ohio. He approached Morris who decided to join in and help start the business. Inside the Five Brewing Company opened in 2018 and the experience has been exciting and eye opening for the former Spartans.
"The brewery aspect started when my wife Katie gave me a home brew kit. This was probably about 15 years ago now as a birthday present. I just very quickly fell in love with creating my own recipes. Kind of putting together a bunch of seemingly random ingredients and making a product to then share with family and friends," said Fields.
"I couldn't ask for anything better. It's been really exciting day in and day out. It's a lot of fun building a business. I couldn't say that my dream was to be a restaurant owner but actually helping build the business has been a lot of fun," Morris said.
As new business owners, there have been plenty of challenges along the way but none greater than the coronavirus pandemic that has hit small businesses hard across the globe.
"We went in with the mentality of try to break even and try to keep as many employees employed as we could. Just go from there and see when the dust settles how we can change and improve things."
Morris said that the brewery has had to furlough about half of their employees due to the COVID-19 crisis. Things are looking up for small businesses like Inside the Five Brewing though as state restrictions continue to loosen in Ohio.
Among a few former Spartans that have visited the brewery since its opening in 2018 is their former coach Mark Dantonio.