No less than five Columbus area breweries are in the middle of either moving or expanding their brewing operations. Some have been in the news lately, while others have been silent for a while. Curious to get a pulse of what is going I reached out to representatives at each brewery for an update.
In the current wave of brewery expansions Four String is at the head of the curve. Their new facility at 660 N. Hague Avenue is already up and running. The Columbus Craft Beer Alliance held a beer and donuts event a couple of weeks back that served as a sort of coming out event, and last Saturday (Nov. 20) they were entertaining visitors from 11-2 pm.
The facility is equipped with a three vessel, 30 bbl brewhouse manufactured by Specific Mechanical in Canada, four 120 bbl fermenters from Premier Stainless, and a dedicated canning line. All that shiny new stainless steel more than triples Four String’s brewing capacity, allowing them to expand their distribution footprint to Northeast Ohio, Cincinnati, Dayton, and Northern Kentucky.
In the near future the brewery will be open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays with beers available for consumption on site or to go. Free tours will be offered at scheduled times for those wishing to learn a little more about the brewing operations. Check out their Facebook page for details on hours and tours. Meanwhile the 6th Avenue taproom in Grandview (985 W. 6th Avenue, Columbus, OH 43212) remains the prime location for grabbing a pint of your favorite Four String beer. The taproom is open Wednesday through Sunday and has been reconfigured with more seating. Special taproom only beers, and the Solo Series line of small batch beers, will still be made there.
The Zaftig brewery taproom is so small that its not uncommon for the crowd to spill out into the parking lot at their Schrock Road industrial park location. That’s fine on a beautiful fall day, but not so convenient in the dead of winter. So it’s exciting to hear that they are moving and expanding. If you thought the old location was close to the Budweiser plant, wait until you see the new space at 7020 Huntley Road. They will be literally located in the shadow of the brewing behemoth, at least when the sun is in the eastern sky. The new space will boast a 1500 square foot taproom, providing ample space for lovers of full bodied high gravity beers to congregate in mass. Owners Brent Halsey and Jim Gokenbach told me they anticipated an early February opening of the new facility. Once they do move, the taproom hours will expand to 5 days per week.
Following soon after the move will be a much needed upgrade to the brewing equipment. A 15 bbl brewhouse from Portland Kettle Works, and five 20 bbl fermenters are on order and expected to arrive in March.
Columbus Brewing Company
It’s been well over a year since it was announced that Columbus Brewing Company had purchased the former Hill Distributing warehouse at 2555 Harrison Road on the west side of Columbus. Moving to the 50,000 square foot facility will allow CBC to increase their capacity (it was reported in the Columbus Dispatch that they would initially go from 12,000 to 20,000-25,000 barrels per year after settling into the new space), make larger batches of many popular seasonal releases, and open a dedicated taproom. At the moment they are the only local brewery that doesn’t have its own taproom (the Columbus Brewing Company Restaurant is an independently owned business). If that weren’t enough to make you root for them, plans are in the works to release Bodhi in bottles once the new facility is up and running.
I reached out to CBC’s Tony Corder who was kind enough to get back to me promptly. Unfortunately they are keeping news (or lack thereof) about the progress of the move under pretty tight wraps. He simply said they were working on it and waiting patiently like everyone else. As you can see in the photo below there’s not much sign of activity from the outside of the building.
Back in the spring it was reported that Barley’s would be expanding their brewing operations to the former Keyes Plumbing Building on Vine Street near the North Market. At some stage those plans fell through and Barley’s have now purchased property at another downtown location to house the 30 bbl brewing system that’s waiting to be installed. As of the time of this posting they weren’t quite ready to release details on the new facility, but the pieces are definitely in motion. Keep an eye out for a follow up story in the (hopefully) not so distant future.