“Between the two of us, we have over 35 years of beer drinking experience, and we plan to bring all of that to the table,” jokes Gavin Meyers, co-founder of Bru, a brew-on-premises spot opening in late Summer in the Short North.
But he and co-founder Tim Ward are launching their business with more than just empty beer cans under their belt; Ward has been homebrewing for half a decade, and Meyers has ample experience in bar management. Both have plenty of business savvy – they met through OSU’s Fisher College of Business MBA program, which is where they discovered their shared love of beer. When they started wondering why a place like Strongsville’s The Brew Kettle didn’t exist in Central Ohio, a business venture began brewing.
“We did some research on brew-on-premises throughout the country that exist now, and also the ones that failed, looking at the ones that failed for what they could have done better and the ones that do well for how could they do even better,” said Meyers.
They discovered that several of the businesses that didn’t succeed had depended solely on brew-on-premises for revenue, so they are arming themselves with four distinct revenue sources – brew-on-premises, a full retail bar, wholesale distribution of their own beer, and a homebrew ingredient and supplies store (which will include e-commerce.)
But the main attraction for Bru is definitely brewing your own beer. You’ll start by picking a style and one of their recipes. If you’re unsure what you want to make, you can sample the different styles on tap. Seasoned homebrewers can provide their own recipes and just utilize Bru’s ingredients and equipment to create it.
With a recipe in hand, a brewing assistant will help you crush grains, measure hops and extracts, and get the brew kettle going. The initial process takes about two hours. Two weeks later you’ll come back to bottle or keg your 15-gallon batch of beer.
It will cost about $150-200 to brew 15 gallons of beer – which produces roughly 80 bombers (22 oz bottles) and works out to around two bucks a bottle. Of course, recipes with more expensive or greater quantities of ingredients will cost a bit more, but even then they estimate it will never exceed $3 a bottle. Most 22 oz bottles of craft beer retail from $8 to upwards of $20, making it cheaper – and more fun – to brew your own.
“From the customer experience to the way that we’re setting up the workflow for customers who want to brew their beer, [Bru] is going to be the first of its kind anywhere in the world,” said Meyers. “And it’s gonna be badass sick to look at.”
The badassness (word?) comes from salvaged historical architectural elements, including reclaimed windows and bricks from Ohio State, repurposed barn wood, and vintage furniture.
The bar will feature 31 beers on tap – about half of which will be Bru’s own creations. They are currently in the selection process for a brewmaster, so the beers they will offer will largely be influenced by who they hire, but some of Ward’s homebrew recipes will be utilized, including a Black IPA and a Summer ale.
One of the taps will be dedicated, appropriately, to homebrews – Bru will hold a monthly homebrewing competition, and the winning beer will be featured on tap for the next month, with all proceeds benefitting a local charity.
The rest of the taps will be filled with local breweries like Four String Brewing and Zauber Brewing. And with their full liquor license, they will serve other local products like OYO vodka and whiskey and Brothers Drake meads.
Bru’s homebrew supply shop will be open during late bar hours, making it the only place you can go if you realize in the middle of brewing at one o’clock in the morning that you’re completely out of hops. They also plan to offer homebrewing classes and other beer-centric events in their 3,500 sq ft space.
“Our goal is to become the craft brewing headquarters of Columbus, Ohio,” adds Meyers.
Ward and Meyers hope to open Bru, which is located at 1288 North High Street, by September.
“Our proximity to Middle West Spirits and Brothers Drake Meadery is a really symbiotic fit,” said Meyers. “We’re hoping to become known as the ‘Spirits District’ of Columbus.”