'Craft beer cafe' to sell brews to go, drink there

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Friends who launched Pedal Wagon are opening new venture in
Over-the-Rhine

Childhood friends Jack Heekin and Tom O’Brian launched the Pedal
Wagon, a 15-seat pedal-powered bike that more than 10,000 riders have
boarded Downtown for pub crawls, birthday parties and other events.

Now, the two are seeking their next entrepreneurial adventure in the
growing popularity of craft beers. Heekin and O’Brian went on a
month-long cross-country road trip last year, traveling 6,429 miles
and stopping at bars, restaurants and coffee shops to develop a
concept they think will translate well in Cincinnati, “the city we
love,” Heekin said.

The result will be HalfCut, a “craft beer cafe” opening toward the end
of January in the 130-year-old Gobrecht building at 12th and Walnut in
Over-the-Rhine. The building most recently housed a Lucy Blue pizza
restaurant after earlier lives as a deli and a saloon.

Named after a slang term from the 1920s that refers to “the perfect
state of mind after a couple of beers,” HalfCut will operate much like
a coffee shop, with a linear ordering and checkout process. Customers
will be greeted by a “beerista,” who can suggest samples and make
recommendations.

A distinguishing feature will be use of growlers, the 32- and 64-ounce
glass jugs that are becoming increasingly popular as a way for beer
drinkers to transport draft brews home from bars and beer shops.

Customers also will be able to create their own six-packs before
proceeding to checkout. Those who wish to stay a while can get a pint
or sampler to drink in the café-style space. A to-go beer window will
serve customers passing by on the street.

HalfCut capitalizes on the rapid growth of the craft beer movement,
which has seen multiple new breweries pop up in Greater Cincinnati
during the past few years.

“The craft beer industry is exploding across the country, and nowhere
is that more apparent than in Cincinnati,” Heekin said. “We are now
home to 11 breweries, with plans in motion for a handful more. The
great new breweries and drinking establishments are helping the city
rediscover its remarkable beer history, and setting up an exciting
future.”

Childhood friends Jack Heekin and Tom O’Brian launched the Pedal
Wagon, a 15-seat pedal-powered bike that more than 10,000 riders have
boarded Downtown for pub crawls, birthday parties and other events.

Now, the two are seeking their next entrepreneurial adventure in the
growing popularity of craft beers. Heekin and O’Brian went on a
month-long cross-country road trip last year, traveling 6,429 miles
and stopping at bars, restaurants and coffee shops to develop a
concept they think will translate well in Cincinnati, “the city we
love,” Heekin said.

The result will be HalfCut, a “craft beer cafe” opening toward the end
of January in the 130-year-old Gobrecht building at 12th and Walnut in
Over-the-Rhine. The building most recently housed a Lucy Blue pizza
restaurant after earlier lives as a deli and a saloon.

Named after a slang term from the 1920s that refers to “the perfect
state of mind after a couple of beers,” HalfCut will operate much like
a coffee shop, with a linear ordering and checkout process. Customers
will be greeted by a “beerista,” who can suggest samples and make
recommendations.

A distinguishing feature will be use of growlers, the 32- and 64-ounce
glass jugs that are becoming increasingly popular as a way for beer
drinkers to transport draft brews home from bars and beer shops.

Customers also will be able to create their own six-packs before
proceeding to checkout. Those who wish to stay a while can get a pint
or sampler to drink in the café-style space. A to-go beer window will
serve customers passing by on the street.

HalfCut capitalizes on the rapid growth of the craft beer movement,
which has seen multiple new breweries pop up in Greater Cincinnati
during the past few years.

“The craft beer industry is exploding across the country, and nowhere
is that more apparent than in Cincinnati,” Heekin said. “We are now
home to 11 breweries, with plans in motion for a handful more. The
great new breweries and drinking establishments are helping the city
rediscover its remarkable beer history, and setting up an exciting
future.”

Heekin and O’Brian plan to start with 16 taps but will have the option
to expand to 32, Heekin said, noting that they want to keep the kegs
rotating so the beer stays fresh. They’ll also use a direct draw draft
beer system, in which taps are connected directly to kegs in the
walk-in cooler, eliminating the lines in between, Heekin said.

The space is about 860 square feet and will have four long, beer
hall-style tables; a community table for larger groups; and two small
tables for two.

“I think people will feel comfortable when they come in, whether
they’re someone who doesn’t drink beer and is dragged there by their
friends; someone who’s used to drinking the large, brand name beers;
someone who’s just getting into craft beer; or someone who loves beer
and lives and dies by it,” Heekin said.

For their venture, the partners are selling T-shirts, growlers and
other items on IndieGoGo to help offset their expenses.

And about the goat that’s become the symbol of their new business?

“The goat symbolizes us going ‘over the mountain’ and finding these
different beers and bringing them back,” Heekin said.

“The overall goal is to help these craft brewers,” he added. “The
whole industry is awesome. They’re passionate about what they’re
doing, and they’re making a better product at the end of the day, and
we want to be a part of that.”  

http://news.cincinnati.com/apps/pbcs.dll/artikkel?NoCache=1&Dato=20131219&Kategori=BIZ&Lopenr=312190142&Ref=AR


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