A Central Ohio craft brewery is ready to raise its profile.
Whitehall’s 2 Tones Brewing Co. is nearing the opening of its 3,400-square-foot taproom at 4539 E. Broad St.
Though Tony Hill and Anthony McKeivier’s beer and brand have been around town since 2016, the duo have never had a public space. They brewed in a nearby industrial park and self-distributed out to bars and restaurants.
“This is a great area that’s been untouched by craft beer,” Hill said of Whitehall. “There’s more development coming. There’s the traffic that goes by here every day.”
Official opening isn’t set yet, but construction is nearing completion. The brewery still needs approval of the location change for its federal license, which is in a backlog due to the government shutdown. Once that clearance comes, the owners will commit to a date.
One of the new beers on tap when it opens will be a new IPA. One of the names under consideration for that beer is “About a Month,” the answer Hill and McKeivier have been giving to questions about their opening for the last month or so.
While a taproom often is part of the opening plans for breweries, 2 Tones opted to build the brand first in a lower expense way to both generate demand for their work and to hone recipes before a bigger rollout.
“We think we’re actually making this transition at a better timer now than if we’d opened a taproom a few years ago,” Hill said.
Competition for local craft beer only continues to grow with nearly 50 local brewing operations and 300 statewide. Battles for taps in bars and shelf space in stores are fierce, but the neighborhood taproom remains a controllable, margin-friendly means of generating sales.
The taproom space takes up 1,000 square feet of the building with the remainder for the brewery. It’ll have 12 taps of 2 Tones beer at first with the ability to expand up to 20 if the brewers so desire. It won’t have its own food, but food trucks will be scheduled and outside delivery will be allowed.
Based on its 2017 production, 2 Tones ranked as Central Ohio's 23rd largest craft brewer, according to Columbus Business First research.
With the new space, the brewery is doubling its production capacity — up to about 40 barrels a week — and has room to quadruple it if the demand is there. The owners also are considering adding a small canning line in the fall.
Hill said they expect about half the production to be for the taproom with the remainder for bars and restaurants.
“But if we end up selling more of it here, that’s great,” McKeivier said.
The additional production will allow for 2 Tones to expand the lineup of beers as well.
“We’ll have way more flexibility now,” McKeivier said. “We have recipes that we haven’t touched yet. There are styles we’re excited to try.”
This story originally appeared in Columbus Business First.