ROCHESTER - A Fulton County wine and cheese maker has launched the early stages of a third craft: beer. Schnabeltier launched in 2014 as part of a diversification effort by Rochester-based RapidView LLC. Vice President of Sales and Marketing Matt Sutton says the foray into fermentation came by request from customers. "We thought it would be just a natural, nice progression of the products we already offer," he told Inside INdiana Business. Once beer sales begin, Sutton says he believes Schnabeltier will be the only artisan in the world to make wine, beer and cheese under the same roof.

Sutton adds a number of factors played into the decision to expand into beer. "The big drive for us is customer desire and then it's something we're interested in -- we all enjoy going to breweries just like we enjoy going to wineries," he said. "We also want to give back to the community and give back to Fulton County and make something that drives people from other counties to our county."

A seven-barrel beer fermentation system has been installed in Schnabeltier's existing space near U.S. 31 and State Road 25 in Rochester. Sutton says if any of the three production operations grow, the facility would have to expand with it. Cheesemaker and vintner Haley Lehman is also serving as brewmaster. The initial brewing process started last week and a precise date for when Schnabeltier will sell beer has not yet been determined.

Sutton says the eventual introduction of beer into the Schnabeltier lineup won't change the experience for customers. "We look at it as: we want to make good products, we want to put them in front of people, whatever sticks with them, whatever they enjoy and they purchase, that's where we're going to put our focus," he said, adding wine and cheese production has grown for the business each year. "I think we're going to see great growth out of the brewery side of the business almost immediately," Sutton said. State regulations allow Schnabeltier to self-distribute beer, but not wine, so Sutton says beer sales could catch up to wine and cheese within a year or two "because it opens up different avenues."

You can connect to more about Schnabeltier and follow when it will begin selling beer along with wine and cheese through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.