Barley’s Expansion Would Triple Brewing Capacity
Earlier this week, we learned that Barley’s Brewing Company has plans to relocate their beer-making operations just two blocks away to a vacant warehouse structure across the street from BBR. While Jason Fabian, General Manager at Barley’s, says that no lease has been signed yet, he said that the project is moving forward steadily and has been something they’ve been working on for awhile.
When Fabian and his team first started the exploration process they looked at cheaper warehouse space in industrial parks further from the core of the city, and also searched for usable buildings in neighborhoods like Olde Towne East and Franklinton. But after new owners purchased the building at 111-115 Vine Street just a few months ago, their attention turned much closer to home.
“This building showed up literally in our own back yard, so we took a tour and realized it had potential,” said Fabian. “It meets our needs for space, it’s around a populated area, it has advertising potential for us to put a sign on it, and great windows for people to see in.”
The current plan is for Barley’s to take up two-thirds of the building in the single-story portion of the facility, where they would relocate their primary brewing operations from the basement at 467 North High Street.
“Right out of the gate, after we set up we’ll be at triple capacity, going from a 10 barrel system to a 30 barrel system with 30 barrel fermenters,” said Fabian. “Our focus is on getting that up and running, but we’ll still have some flex room for expansion over several more years.”
The other third of the new building is planned for future development by the owner, which could end up being office or residential space, but also could end up becoming a tasting room for Barley’s. Fabian says that the relocation would likely be a four-to-six month project, and that the old brewery on High Street would be kept as a system where Barley’s Brewmaster Angelo Signorino can experiment with smaller batches and new flavors.
“It’s a blessing being across the street from the Convention Center because it provides a steady flow of business,” said Fabian. “So we have a serious demand for beer already, and that has streamlined our offerings. We used to be able to change it up more.”
While the Columbus beer scene has seen a flood of new competition in the past few years, Fabian says that a larger community has been a positive for their business, and that the region could likely support another five to ten breweries, particularly in suburban areas where they currently don’t exist. He also points out that local breweries will always range in size and scope.
“There’s really two different business models — you can open a brewpub, and people will come to eat and drink at your establishment, or you can go the more commercial route with wholesale accounts,” said Fabian. “You can certainly do both, but it’s easier business-wise to have people come in and hang out for the experience, rather than trying to get your beer on tap or in bottles in 150 bars and grocery stores — the profit margins just aren’t the same.”
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For more information on Barley’s, visit www.barleysbrewing.com.