Tim Ward and Gavin Meyers are the brains behind North High Brewing, located on 1288 N. High Street in Columbus. Since December of 2012, they’ve been creating flavors for the Short North neighborhood. We sat down with Ward to discuss what sets the establishment apart, as well as their upcoming plans for expansion.
How did you get into brewing?
While Gavin was in school, he managed a bar downtown called Metro, which has since closed. My degree is in mechanical engineering, and since college I’ve been home-brewing, about 10 years or more. I started my career at Honda and got my MBA at Ohio State, where Gavin and I met. That’s where we came up with the concept of the bar, the brewery, the brew-on-premise.
What sets North High apart?
While we do a lot of pub business, you could also come in and brew a batch of beer yourself under our guidance. You pay about what you would pay if you were to brew it at home. So if you wanted to make a 15-gallon batch at home, but don’t have the materials, you can use our facility. There are serious benefits to that! You don’t have to worry about set-up, or clean-up, your recipe is guaranteed, and if for some reason the batch is infected, we’ll replace it for free.
Do you educate customers on the brewing process?
Absolutely. 90 percent of our customers have never brewed before, and our brewer will walk them through the process, weigh out ingredients, answer their questions, and explain the science behind what they’re doing. We could just say “hey, do this,” but they won’t get the full experience. They need to know why they’re doing what they’re doing.
Can you talk a little about your expansion?
We're expanding into a 20-barrel brew house, so we’ll be able to brew much more easily. We brewed a lot last year, just to keep up with our demand. We have about 30-40 bars and restaurants in this area that carry our beer. We hope to brew in early June on our new system, which will help create a higher-quality beer, and allow us to distribute our beer all around Columbus. Our goal is to cover Columbus before we go to other markets, because this is our home.
What about your building? It’s beautiful.
It was a janitorial supply building, and before that it was a Ford dealership, in 1917. The floor is the original showroom floor.
We put everything up ourselves, and brought a lot of reclaimed items into the building. The shutters are from the Old Crow distillery (see pictures here), built in the 1800s, down in Kentucky […] the footrail is an old train track. We put old barn wood on the front of the bar to give it some texture, some character. To get the blinds made, we worked with a local carpenter who had the original redwood bleachers from Ohio State stadium. We spent a lot of time on the look and feel of this place.
What’s your favorite part of the job?
Sharing the experience with other people. The first time I ever brewed a batch here, I watched the first customer order it, and thought “that’s awesome.”
And that’s why we’re here. It just feels great, to be able to share that.
North High Brewing is open Monday-Thursday, 12 p.m. to 2 a.m., Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Check them out on Facebook, or visit their website at northhighbrewing.com.