It’s no secret that Columbus Brewing Co. has been hamstrung for years with a lack of space. Demand is high for its award-winning beers. But owner/brewer Eric Bean hasn’t had enough room to expand and produce more beer at his current site in Columbus' historic Brewery District.
He solved that dilemma Thursday, signing paperwork to buy the former Hill Distributing building on Harrison Road on the west side of the city. The facility is nearly 50,000 square feet.
“It’s going to give us the space and the equipment we need,” Bean said. “We now have the resources to grow the way we want to. We’ve just been so limited … All of our excuses have to go away now. We have the facility to do what the market wants us to do.”
He expects to add a new brewhouse – he didn’t want to go into specific detail about that right now -- and equipment that will immediately double capacity from the 12,000 barrels produced this year. Renovations on the new building are set to start in October and he is looking for a late spring opening.
As for what the market wants, it’s demanding more Columbus beer. It also wants the brewery to bottle its popular Bodhi, a double IPA. Bean also wants to get a little more creative with his brewery – something he hasn't been able to do because he had to keep up with demand for the core brands.
“It means we can make a lot more IPA, but it also means we can make a lot more than IPA,” he said.
The new brewery will include a pilot system and a tasting room. The current site has no taproom, but is physically connected to the Columbus Brewing Co. Restaurant. Some people aren’t aware that the brewery and restaurant are separate businesses.
The restaurant feeds off the popularity of the brewery. It’s unclear where the move leaves the restaurant.
“We’re working through those details,” Bean said.