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Wellsville’s Finest, Catching up with Brad O’Connor

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Brad, Jess, and Nora have conquered Tega Cay, SC

First question Cuz(we are 2nd cousins), How is your mother in law, Mary Rhodes, and how does she like your beers?

Hah, Mary frowns at my beers. She only likes Moscato, Bailey’s, and the 7&7 that Joe used to make at the Beefhaus. I still love her, but she’s not a beer person.

So tell us the story since you “left town”….

Graduated WHS 1990 and migrated to Alfred State College for an Associates in Applied Sciences. I Finished my undergrad at James Madison University with a Bachelors in Business Administration.

Professionally have worked in Information Technology for 25 years and currently am the North America Head of IT for AIG Accident and Health.

Tell us about your family?

10 years ago my wife, Jess(Rhodes, WHS class of 1993) and I had a little girl, Nora. We both agreed that we’d prefer her to be in a better school district than where we lived in Charlotte. The obvious, and very easy choice, was to chose to move to Tega Cay, SC. It’s a peninsula on Lake Wylie and it known as a recreation focused city. The schools are great, the lake is off our back porch, there’s a golf course, nearly a dozen parks, miles of trails, and we can ride our golf cart to the brewery for a beer and tacos. Tega Cay is a community that can’t be oversold, it really is a wonderful place to live. Since we moved here we’ve been able to migrate several other 14895 families to the city, whom we often still hang out with.

So how did Model A Brewing materialize?

Started Homebrewing ~13 years ago, then joined the local homebrew clubs and started melding the science and art of beer making. Over the past few years I was actively competing in many homebrew competitions and have many medals to show for that effort. I have always had the idea of opening a brewery as my retirement career. My vision was a simple small batch operation where I could spend time as brewmaster and work the taproom. Just a simple means of sharing some of my libation creations…..

3 years ago a friend in Tega Cay whom I had been sharing my homebrews with started approaching me to open a brewery in our community. I never really thought he was all that serious about the offer. In February 2020 the same gentleman took me to lunch and laid the architectural drawings on the table of a brewery. He said, I’m not doing this without you and I’m ready to sign the letter of intent today if you say yes. After a conversation with my wife, we decided that an opportunity like this is never promised in the future, we said yes.

Today we are partners in a 5700 sq/ft brewery that is showcasing some fantastic beers from day 1. Even during Covid our brewery opening has been a success beyond what we forecasted. We can’t wait to see what the post Covid world brings us.

Wow that is a great story, I can’t wait to get down there!!! Now tell us the ultimate WHS alumni question: Who was your favorite teacher?

Mrs. Howitt !!!! She was genius!

What do you miss most about living in Wellsville?

Food is what I miss the most: Pizza King, Texas Hot, and Giant Subs (the usual suspects).

Check out Brad, Jess, and Nora’s new venture: https://modelabrewing.com/

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