Rurban Brewing is small – on purpose and with purpose. The indie brewery in Cornwall is keen to keep things local and keep brewing great beer with honesty.

This small-batch, independent, family-run brewery is owned by Andy and Karen Rorabeck. The Rorabecks have a long history of brewing premium beer. Two decades, countless hours, a deep understanding of brewing, consulting, even judging. Couple that with making everything themselves on-site while supporting local, and it’s a combination that has won over the hearts and palates of beer enthusiasts.

Brewing beginnings

The brewery had a unique start, born of curiosity and hard work. When on their honeymoon in the late 1990s, the Rorabecks were finishing up a tour of Traquiar House in Scotland. After they finished the tour, there was a flock of peacocks between them and the parking lot, which Karen refused to either approach or let Andy herd off. “Instead, we wandered back towards the house, where we discovered a reconstituted and operational brewery that let us sample their Traquiar House Ale: it was unlike anything we had tasted in North America,” they said.

When they returned, they found they couldn’t easily get beers like that here, so Andy started looking into how to brew. From there, things snowballed – he started getting judged and winning awards at major and minor competitions, then getting certified at judging, then teaching others how to judge, then running parts of competitions, and even helping other breweries with technical issues. Fast forward to 2015, and Rurban offered its inaugural batch of beers – making it the first Cornwall-based brewing company to operate in the city in close to a century.

Onwards and upwards

Three years later, they opened a taproom, creating a new space for patrons to sample and enjoy Rurban’s award-winning beer. The taproom and brewery is now known as a welcoming place to find your next favourite brew with friendly service. “It’s quiet to busy, depending on the day, but replete with regulars and visitors who have come to the area, either specifically to visit us or as part of their trip,” they said.

Now, the brewery also incorporates a retail shop offering cans, growlers, merch and other locally-made products. In fact, being local is always top of mind at Rurban.

“We make all of our own products on-site, from our own knowledge base, and all of it is solid,” the Rorabecks said. “We produce our own artwork, print our own labels, and package our own product. When you see us at local festivals or charitable events, whoever is there for us is getting paid to be there; when you see us on tap somewhere, it’s without inducement.

“We don’t undercut our compatriots; we stay as local as we can; we use as much local hops as we can. We support as much local as we can rather than just talking about supporting local.”

The Beer

Rurban is brewing unpasteurized and unfiltered beer. While trying to keep the Cornwall Lager in stock at all times, everything else changes regularly.

“We follow a seasonal rotation of beers, but also make new ones or bring back past beers when we hear enough requests in the taproom,” they said, noting Rurban has the lowest water-to-beer ratio they know of. Their most popular beer is Cornwall Lager, only surpassed in summer, when Salted Lime Gose typically takes the top spot.

“There are many of our beers that have surprised us, but our most unsurprising beers were ones that were ahead of their time,” they said. “For example, we made a fantastic Helles Bock sometime around 2017, but it was a super slow seller. We found a couple of cans a few years later, and it was still top-notch. Karen says we can make it again, and the local market will appreciate it more this time.”

In terms of what to expect moving forward at Rurban, look ahead to releases throughout the winter and spring. 

“We’ll release more rounds of IPAs and Cornwall Lager, as well as a new bock and a return Doppelbock this month; a seasonal Irish red in March; Salted Lime Gose around Victoria Day, and whatever we can manage in-between and after that.”

Keep an eye on everything Rurban Brewing on Facebook or Instagram @rurbanbrewing. Better yet, stop by to say hi at 412 Cumberland Street in Cornwall or find out more at