An update on Columbus-area brewery expansions

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.

Four String

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.

Four String Hague Ave
The new Hague Avenue Four String production facility.


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.

Zaftig_Huntley Ave
The future home of Zaftig Brewing, notice the moniker of the evil empire looming in the background.

Hoof Hearted

I’m happy to report that the highly anticipated opening of Hoof Hearted’s Brew Pub and Kitchen is proceeding on schedule.  A new 10 bbl brew house and six 20 bbl fermenters are in place. They’ve passed the inspection by the state liquor commission. Hiring calls have gone out to staff the new facility.  Co-owner and head Brewer Trevor Williams tells me that he should be brewing beer at the new facility by the second week of December. He anticipates a late January/early February opening of the Italian Village location, which is located on the corner of 4th Street and 1st Avenue roughly midway between Wolf’s Ridge and Seventh Son.
I asked Williams what people should expect at the new location, which is a joint venture with the A&R Creative Group who own the Crest Tavern, Ethyl and Tank, and The Market in Italian Village among other establishments.  He told me that they plan to have 12-14 taps, most of them pouring Hoof Hearted beers, with two lines set aside for guest taps hopefully of European origin. That would more than double the number of Hoof Hearted beers that are tap anywhere else in the world right now, including the Hoof Hearted Brewery in Marengo on the too infrequent occasions when they are open.
When I asked about food options, Williams told me the menu will lean toward neo-Nordic cuisine.  This immediately conjured images of reindeer medallions and herring in my mind, but apparently those dishes are to Nordic cuisine what Kenny Loggins is to pop music, something thankfully relegated to the past.  I guess you’ll just have to come down and find out for yourself what neo-Nordic fare tastes like.  I have a strong hunch that even if they served stadium nachos and popcorn, people will line up for access to a steady supply of fresh Hoof Hearted beer.
hoof hearted hiring
Can’t get enough Hoof Hearted beer.  Maybe a career change is in order.

 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.

CBC_Harrison Ave Shot
The eventual home of Columbus Brewing Company shows off some fall color, but the world would be a happier place if the red and yellow colors were coming from Uncle Rusty and Bodhi.


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.


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