The March edition of Gallery Hop takes place in the Short North tomorrow, and it also signals the opening of one of the area’s newest tenants. Brothers Drake was previously located on the far north side, between Worthington and Polaris, but is ready to open their new doors at 26 East 5th Avenue in Weinland Park, adjacent to the Short North. Their new space serves as both a production facility and a retail shop, and the expansion is allowing them to ramp up production to keep up with a growing demand.
We recently spoke to Evelyn van Til, Public Relations and Social Media Marketing Coordinator at Brothers Drake, to find out more.
Walker Evans: What was the impetus for the move from your old location? Were you guys out of room?
Evelyn Van Til: Absolutely. We totally outgrew our old location, which literally had our production space, tasting room, and everything housed in just under 1,000 square feet. With our new leadership, and in response to demand for artisan local mead, we have significantly increased our production. Moving to our new 3,000 square foot facility allows us to continue that growth.
WE: What considerations were given to a new space, and why was the location you chose considered to be most ideal?
EVT: We were very thoughtful about where we wanted to move and looked all over Columbus. It’s a huge undertaking to move any business and being an alcohol producing and selling facility presented unique complications. It was very important to us to be centrally located in the city due to our strong beliefs in the reduction in the waste of scarce resources such as fuel.
Weinland Park quickly rose to the top of our considerations because we’ve lived here since 2001 and know this neighborhood has groundbreaking plans around urban farming and revitalization that match our values. The proximity to both the Short North and the University District are optimal for creative brew.
WE: Your new home is next-door neighbors with Middle West Spirits. Do you have a good relationship with those guys?
EVT: We have a great relationship with them. Even before Middle West Spirits officially opened, Ryan Lang and Brady Konya have been a wonderful part of our community of local artisan spirit-makers. Getting to be neighbors with world-class master distillers, who are also some of the nicest people ever, is pretty amazing.
WE: Does the new space have a retail sales component?
EVT: Yes, in addition to operating our tasting room, where we will be serving flights and glasses of our different meads, we will also be selling bottles and cases of mead.
WE: Can we expect future events, tastings, tours at the new space?
EVT: In addition to focusing on additional production, our space will serve as a brand showcase, mead shop, educational venue and we will possibly be doing other events down the road. Brothers Drake offers tours by appointment, and can accommodate groups ranging in size from 6 to 40. Tours and tastings last 60 to 90 minutes, depending on the size of group, and can include “Mead 101: An Interactive Mead-Making Experience”. We will also host Open Houses during Gallery Hop and each Wednesday evening from 6 to 10 pm. You can come taste mead by the glass, buy bottles, and learn about local quality craft mead with tours of the production area.
WE: The official grand opening takes place tomorrow, correct?
EVT: We will be open March 5th for Gallery Hop with a new art show entitled Bee Sides that showcases 15 artists works on bees, honey, and sustainable agriculture in various mediums, including wax. There will be live music, mead tastings, and hourly tours starting at 4pm.
WE: Any new mead flavors being worked on this year?
EVT: Brothers Drake has a number of meads in the tanks. It takes a minimum of 6 months to make a quality mead. Some of our meads take 11 months or even 2 years.
We have three new meads that will come out shortly:
Honey Oak ~ Semi-Dry Traditional Mead aged with American Oak. We took the inspiration of an oaked chardonnay and gave it the Brothers Drake spin. Our traditional Tupelo Tree honey mead is buttery smooth with vanilla notes and fruity tones.
Hopped Traditional ~ Semi-Dry Traditional Mead with Cascade Hops Attention beer lovers! American Hops add a new dimension to this Orange Blossom honey mead. Lightly bitter with honey tones.
Ohio Wildflower Traditional ~ Semi-Sweet Traditional Mead featuring locally sourced wildflower honey mead.
WE: Anything else you’d like to add?
EVT: We are very focused on our local community. We hear from our community that they want local honey, so we use it. We hear that they like certain flavors, so we bring them back and make more of them. They tell us they value hand crafting so we use as little chemistry as humanly possible and take our time in making the mead. We work very deliberately to make the best mead from the best local ingredients.
The most important aspect of our business is that we strongly believe in preserving scarce resources and supporting our local economy, not only on the sourcing side with local honey and raw materials as much as possible, but also that we do not ship or sell our product outside of the greater Columbus area.
We aim to be leaders in finding a model for business that will really empower a local economy. We buy, make & sell locally ensuring that the wealth of our community stays preserved as much as possible, aiming to reduce waste. We believe this is the key to sustainability in our food system, our businesses and our lives.
More information can be found online at www.BrothersDrake.com.