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High Bank Distillery Announces Gahanna Expansion Plans

Susan Post Susan Post High Bank Distillery Announces Gahanna Expansion PlansHigh Bank will open its second Central Ohio location this spring - All renderings provided by High Bank Distillery
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High Bank Distillery is expanding with plans to open its second Central Ohio location in Gahanna this spring.

High Bank will occupy 7,500 square feet of space at 1379 E. Johnstown Rd., which will house a bar, restaurant and retail store, as well as barrel storage and some smaller footprint distillery operations.

The distillery joined the growing local spirits scene in spring of 2018 with its 17,000 square foot facility at 1051 Goodale Blvd. in Grandview.

For the previously initiated, the new location will feel familiar, with wide open spaces, high ceilings and indoor-outdoor experiences.

“Guests love our current atmosphere and feel of our open space,” says High Bank Co-Founder Jordan Helman. “Our goal with High Bank 2 is to keep those key elements, integrate elements of our distillery operation and find unique design moments to differentiate this space from our first location while staying true to the High Bank brand.”

To start, both High Banks will also serve up the same food and cocktail menus. Helman says that they plan to utilize their current Grandview location to train all new staff so that by the time Gahanna opens, they’re well-versed in the High Bank experience.

As the new location gets rolling, more differentiation will develop to not only keep things fresh and interesting, but to encourage the Gahanna team to flex their creativity.

Helman and fellow Co-Founder and Distiller Adam Hines are excited for the High Bank experience to fill a gap in the area. Hines says they feel the location, which borders New Albany, is largely underserved by unique local offerings. The pair are familiar. Helman grew up in Gahanna and now lives in New Albany, while Hines resides nearby in Westerville.

“People want to have cool, elevated, unique places to visit in their local suburbs and not always have to go Downtown,” Helman says.

The area has also seen its own upswing of development with new single family homes as well as apartment complexes – attracting just the demographic High Bank looks to serve.

While the new space will primarily serve as a bar and restaurant, Hines says they will have capability to do a small amount of distilling. But largely the focus will be on barrel storage, which will see the second aging of some products. Over time, those second agings will lead to some special-release spirits unique to the Gahanna location to create some differentiation.

Outside of special bottle releases, both of the distillery’s retail shops will be stocked with the full line-up of High Bank spirits. That includes its High Bank Vodka, Statehouse Gin and whiskey series: Whiskey War, Midnight Cask and the award-winning Whiskey War Barrel Proof. The Whiskey War Barrel Proof was recently honored as the Best Blended Whiskey in America in the 2021 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, and nabbed Best Blended Whiskey and Best Whiskey Product in Ohio at the annual Heartland Whiskey Competition. 

High Bank is expanding at a time that’s been challenging for many, if not all, in the bar and restaurant industry, but the distillery found itself uniquely suited to pick back up on expansion plans that had been floated pre-pandemic.

Helman says that while the last 18 plus months have been difficult, “We took it as an opportunity to try and find unique ways to grow our business.”

Hand sanitizer turned out to be one of those avenues for growth. When the distillery started producing sanitizer, they initially gave it away to first responders and front-line workers. However, when they opened up sales to the general public, Helman says it brought in a lot of potential customers that hadn’t heard of them before.

High Bank was also able to keep its salaried team across the distillery and restaurant on staff during the pandemic. When restrictions eased, they were then able to hit the ground running in getting back to service – in a large, open dining room that lent itself well to social distancing, making initial customers feel more comfortable. Helman says it all led to a much faster recovery once they were allowed to reopen.

Construction is scheduled to start on the new space in the next few weeks, with a slated spring 2022 opening.

For more information, visit highbankco.com.

All renderings provided by High Bank Distillery

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