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Covington neighborhoods partner to resurrect garden tour June 20-21

It’s been 14 years since Old Seminary Square last held a garden tour, and this year the Covington neighborhood is teaming up with the Westside Action Coalition to host a 27-plot tour. It will be held 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on June 20 and 21 and span across the two historic neighborhoods.
For the past 50 years, many Covington neighborhoods held garden tours. Holly Young, organizer of this weekend’s garden tour and vice president of the Westside Action Coalition, says the tours were widely publicized and drew attention from garden magazines, and not just because of the gardens.
“They were a huge draw because of the pre-Civil War and Civil War architecture in the neighborhood,” she says.
The picturesque images you see of wrought iron fences in New Orleans were inspired by Covington architecture. The iconic look originated here and came down the Mississippi River with riverboat passengers.
Gardening and the garden tours have fallen by the wayside over the past 10 years or so due to harder economic times, Young says. People haven’t had the time and money to garden, but the Westside Action Coalition wants to bring this pastime back to the people of Covington.
Over the past year, the Westside Action Coalition hosted a seed and plant sale and received a grant from the Center for Great Neighborhoods to help encourage gardening.
“There’s been a lot of development and advancement in the past five years,” Young says. “People weren’t walking down the street 10 years ago, but now they are. The neighborhood has really turned around, and now it’s time to celebrate that cohesive neighborhood.”
The garden tour will feature three public spaces in the Westside — Orchard Park; Shotgun Row’s park; and the Riddle-Yates Garden, which is the longest-run community garden in Northern Kentucky. The other 24 locations on the tour will be gardens at private residences.
The tour is a fundraiser for the Westside Action Coalition as well as for the John G. Carlisle School. There are plans to launch a garden-related project with the school’s students, but nothing has been set in stone yet.
The event will also include a raffle, silent auction and art exhibit. The exhibit will be on Robbins Street, which will be blocked off during the tour, and feature artwork specifically designed for the home and garden.
Tickets are available online at CovingtonGardenTour.com for $11 and day-of for $15 at the corner of Robbins and Russell. Parking will be available on the street as well as at John G. Carlisle School.

In-fill townhouse development is Towne's first OTR residential project

Towne Properties is working on its first townhouse project in Over-the-Rhine. The development will sit on half an acre along the streetcar route at the northwest corner of 15th and Elm streets.
The seven townhomes will be 2,800 square feet, each with a 900-square-foot, partially finished basement. Three-bedroom units will also have two-car detached garages and private backyards, which are hard to come by in OTR, and will be priced at $650,000.
The townhomes will have a similar look and feel to Towne’s Beacon Hill condo development in Deerfield Township, which was designed after neighborhoods in Boston.  

"This is a very unique product in that we're using high-end, long-lasting materials that will stand the test of time," says Towne's Chad Munitz.

He also says that the units will be about 25 feet wide, when typical townhouses and condos in OTR are about 17 feet wide.
As part of the project, Towne is also redeveloping the existing building at 1517 Elm St. into first-floor retail space with two condos above. New Republic is the architect for the rehabilitation portion of the project, and PDT Architects is working on the townhouses.
Towne took the plans before the Historic Conservation Board meeting on June 8 for a preliminary design review to gather feedback. The plans were well received, and after a few tweaks Towne will bring them back to the board in several weeks to get approval for construction.

Towne will also approach the city to have the land rezoned from commercial property to single-family.
If things go according to plan, construction will start on the project in July and could be completed by next spring.

College Hill's mid-business district getting a facelift

Over the next year, 17 businesses in College Hill will receive storefront updates thanks to the neighborhood’s facade improvement program that’s funded through a $175,000 Neighborhood Business District Improvement Program grant from the city and a $10,000 grant from the PNC Foundation. The grant money will also be met with private investment from the building owners and an 80/20 match from storefront owners.
College Hill saw $400,000 worth of facade improvements in 2006, when many of the well-established businesses received new windows and doors, updated signage and lights. But now that a number of years have passed, new businesses have moved in and properties have changed hands.
“With other neighborhood residents becoming property owners, it’s time for another round of improvements,” says Mike Cappel, president of the College Hill Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation (CHCURC).
All of the businesses in Phase II of the program are located on Hamilton Avenue in the neighborhood’s mid-business district. College Hill Coffee Company will soon have new awnings, Marty’s Hops and Vines will get a new sign and Silk Road Textiles will receive new windows and doors, just to name a few.
“You would be amazed at what new signage and lighting can do,” Cappel says. “It really helps to let people know the businesses are there.”
CHCURC has built a new parking lot at the corner of Marlowe and Hamilton Avenues, tearing down two dilapidated buildings in order to create about 90 parking spaces as well as new entrances, lights and landscaping. The organization had previously announced a $10.5 million mixed-use project for the area that’s dependent on receiving federal tax credits, which should be announced soon.

Paddlefest events to connect Tristate with the outdoors, promote healthy living

Part of Green Umbrella’s mission is to promote outdoor recreation and nature awareness for kids of all ages, and there’s no better example than the nonprofit’s annual Paddlefest, which returns June 18-20.
June 18 is the Paddlefest Kids Expo, 9:30 a.m-4:30 p.m. at Coney Island. The free event is divided into four villages: Let’s Splash, Let’s Be Green, Let’s Explore and Let’s Move. Each village teaches life skills that include everything from catching your first fish to how to paddle a raft and how to recycle and compost.
“It’s a chance to families to unplug from the digital world and plug into nature,” says Brewster Rhoads, the outgoing executive director of Green Umbrella.
Kids get passports and, if they get stamps from 10 different activities, receive a jump rope to take home. Rhoads says that at the end of the day each kid walks about 1.5 miles and goes home tired and excited about the world around them.
“This is all part of helping to grown the next generation of environmental stewards,” he says. “It also brings up adults’ awareness of the most important natural resource and helps boost Cincinnati’s green footprint.”
The Ohio River Music & Outdoor Festival is June 19 at Coney Island and provides Paddlefest participants an opportunity to register for the event and drop off their boat. The free event will also include boat demos, a gear swap, a kayak fishing tournament and live music. Bands go on at 5 p.m. and will play until midnight; featured acts include Rumpke Mountain Boys, The Hot Magnolias, Jake Speed & the Freddies, Michela Miller and East of Vine.
The 14th Annual Ohio River Paddlefest is June 20 and is open to paddlers of all skill levels, from the recreational paddler to the competitive racing paddlers. It’s the largest paddling event in the United States, with about 2,000 people working down the Ohio River together.
“This event gives people a personal and intimate experience with the Ohio,” Rhoads says. “It draws attention to the region’s biggest asset and helps bust myths about the river. People think the Ohio is dangerous and dirty, but during the event they realize it’s cleaner and safer than they imagined.”
Paddlefest has grown from a four-hour event to an eight-mile, three-day event for adults and kids. The event begins at Coney Island, stops at Smith Field and ends at the Public Landing downtown. There’s a shuttle at the end of the route that will take participants back to their vehicles.
Registration is $35 per person, and everyone gets a T-shirt. You can register for Paddlefest here.
For more outdoor recreation activities and events around the Tristate this summer, visit meetmeoutdoors.com.

Local musicians opening Northside Sound Factory this weekend

The papered-up windows of 4172 Hamilton Ave. don’t look like much now, but on June 13 Northside Sound Factory will open its doors at the storefront. Local musicians Clinton Vearil and Josh Pilot, formerly of The KillTones, wanted to bring affordable instruments and accessories and vintage pieces to the neighborhood.
“The area is growing rapidly, and we felt it’s something the town could really use,” Pilot says. “There are lots of musicians in Northside, so we knew it was something the community could use and appreciate.”
The space used to be a restaurant but has been remodeled to fit a musician’s every need. One of the two restrooms was soundproofed and will be a testing station for instruments, where customers can set up an amp or drum set to try it out.
Vearil and Pilot will sell new and used musical instruments and accessories as well as unique and interesting pieces the two have been collecting. In the next few weeks, Northside Sound Factory will also begin offering a consignment service for instruments. Besides instruments, the shop will also offer an instrument repair service and lessons.
Shortly after opening, the shop will offer a delivery service for bands and musicians who are ready to start their set and either forgot something or are in need of a replacement string, pick or strap.
“With Northside Tavern right across the street, a bartender will be able to call our delivery number and we’ll bring over whatever the bands need,” Pilot says. “It won’t be a huge thing for the shop, but we really want to help musicians as well as help the surrounding music scene.”  
Pilot says they also plan to donate instruments to a number of schools and other organizations that help kids get into music. The guys already have a number of guitars to donate and are looking for other instruments as well.
“Music has been such a great thing in our lives, and we want any kid who wants to learn to have that ability,” he says.
Northside Sound Factory will be open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, but the shop will open at noon on June 13. The grand opening event will include music from The Good Morning Heartaches, Betsy Ross and The All Seeing Eyes featuring Johnny Walker. The bands will play in the alley next to the shop, and Lyric food truck will be set up on Hamilton Avenue. 

Retail collective coming to Main Street June 14

A new retail collective will open at 1300 Main St. in Over-the-Rhine on June 14, which is also this summer’s first Second Sunday on Main. Goods on Main will feature merchandise from national brands as well as locally made products.
Originally, Frameshop owners Jake Baker and Jake Gerth planned to open Workshop at the location. A larger space opened up in Walnut Hills, but they had already rented the space in OTR. The business partners decided that something else needed to go there.
“We’re hoping to bring more of a critical mass of retail to Main Street,” says Pat Feghali, local attorney and co-owner of Goods. "Right now lots of people go to Vine street to shop, but by opening Goods we’re hoping to make Main Street a stronger retail destination.”
The 1,500-square-foot, first-floor retail space will be split in two, with the front half devoted to Goods. The rest of the space will be used for more of a gathering area for special events like Final Friday and Second Sunday on Main. Feghali says they plan to devote the entire space to Goods in the future.
The merchandise available at Goods will center around a theme and change several times throughout the year.
When it opens, the theme will be "adventure.” Feghali says this could mean a camping adventure or something more outside of the box like a culinary adventure. Items available will range from bicycles and mopeds to camping gear and hot sauce.
Along with Feghali, Goods is owned and operated by OTR entrepreneurs Duru Armagon, owner of Sloane Boutique; Adam Atallah; Carl Hunt; and Micah Paladino, CEO of PB&J.
Goods’ hours aren’t set in stone yet, but the storefront will be open Thursday through Sunday.

Local and organic burger/milkshake bar coming to Northside

Tickle Pickle burgers-and-milkshake café and catering company will open in Northside later this summer. Owner Sarah Cole originally thought about moving her other catering company, Sarelli’s Catering, from Newport to Northside, but when she purchased the building at 4176 Hamilton Ave. she decided to start a new business instead.
“I grew up in Clifton but moved to Northern Kentucky when my kids started school,” Cole says. “As soon as I saw a chance to buy something in Northside and be in Cincinnati again, I jumped at the chance. We come to Clifton all the time and want my kids to know the beautiful diversity (in the city of Cincinnati) that Northern Kentucky doesn’t always have.”
Tickle Pickle will be a fast-casual restaurant offering organic milkshakes that cater to dietary restrictions, including gluten-free and vegan. And Cole is trying to keep her food as local as possible.
“At Sarelli’s we’re really into organic, non-GMO foods and being conscious about what we put into our bodies,” she says. “We try to buy local, but a lot of the time companies can’t provide enough to support Sarelli’s. But Tickle Pickle will have a smaller menu, and it will be much easier to do that here.”
Organic milk will come from Snowville Creamery, chicken from Gerber Honest Hatchery Chicken Farms, no-preservative pretzel buns from Hot Pretzel in Northern Kentucky and vegan and whole-wheat buns from Sixteen Bricks Bread. Cole is working with Tiny Footprint Distribution, which is Green BEAN Delivery’s wholesale side, and Findlay Market as well as Northside Meat.
“I want to give Northside and the surrounding neighborhoods my money, keeping the food as local as possible and as organic as possible,” she says.
The 2,000-square-foot space was already outfitted with a kitchen, but Cole is renovating the building’s dining area and storefront. She’s working with the American Sign Museum to create an awesome Tickle Pickle sign and plans to use reclaimed wood and recyclable items when remodeling.
The catering side of Tickle Pickle will open June 8. The restaurant is able to cater business lunches and meetings for groups of 15 or more.
Tickle Pickle is also hiring, so if you’re interested send your resume to sarah@ticklepicklenorthside.com.

Homebrewer expands palette to kombucha brewing, to move in with Urban Artifact

Algis Aukstuolis began experimenting with fermentation about 10 years ago when he first started homebrewing. A few years ago, his wife purchased a bottle of kombucha at Whole Foods, and Aukstuolis decided he could find a way to make the probiotic-heavy fermented tea less tart and sell it as Skinny Piggy Kombucha.
“Kombucha fermentation is very similar to beer,” he says. “With beer you need to extract the sugar from grain, but kombucha is more like making sweet tea and focusing on steeping it correctly.”
Skinny Piggy currently operates out of the Northern Kentucky Incubator Kitchen in Covington, and Aukstuolis brews about once per month but bottles more frequently. He has plans to expand the business and move into the same building as Urban Artifact in Northside.
“I met with a number of breweries, but Urban Artifact seemed like a good fit because they specialize in wild yeast and tart beers,” Aukstuolis says.
Skinny Piggy's Kickstarter campaign ends on Monday, June 1, and Aukstuolis has already reached his $10,000 goal. Funds from the Kickstarter will go toward a larger brewing system and bottling equipment.
Skinny Piggy is an original tea blend that makes the drink less tart. In a few weeks, Aukstuolis will have his first flavored kombucha: lavender. Once he’s expanded production, he plans to add more flavors.
“I think Cincinnati deserves its own kombucha,” Aukstuolis says. “There are a number of styles coming from California, but Cincinnati has its own specific taste. I want to cater to that taste as well as help encourage healthy drinking lifestyles.”
Bottles of Skinny Piggy are currently available at The Gruff in Covington, Happy Belly on Vine and the Hyde Park Remke. It’s also available on draft at Urban Artifact. Once the Kickstarter campaign ends, he and a distributor will begin working to get the drink in Whole Foods stores.

Second Sunday on Main returns June 14 to celebrate festival's 10th year

Since its inception 10 years ago, Second Sunday on Main has grown from a small event featuring condo tours to a blocks-long festival with food trucks, live music, vendors and artists. The free event is held on the second Sunday of each month June through October along Main Street between 12th and Liberty streets, with the first 2015 event on June 14.
“Second Sunday is unique because it changes and grows with the neighborhood,” says Caitlin Behle, the current organizer of SSOM. “When the festival launched in 2005 as a weekly event, Main Street looked very different. At a time when people were reluctant to visit OTR, the Over-the-Rhine Chamber of Commerce started Second Sunday as an opportunity to bring people to the street on Sunday afternoons and showcase the area as a diverse, safe and welcoming place.”
This year, SSOM is partnering with the YMCA of Greater Cincinnati to add an area for kids. The YMCA Kids Square will offer free hands-on activities and crafts for kids programmed by the YMCA. Other community organizations will be present as well, including the Peaslee Neighborhood Center and the Art Academy of Cincinnati’s Community Education division.
Findlay Market will host the Celebrity Chef series, which will feature a free chef demo at Mr. Pitiful’s. Traditionally, the series has invited visitors to a drink pairing and chef demo by one of more local chefs, where guests are given the recipe for the dishes and drinks.
“By collaborating with Findlay Market, we’re able to celebrate what is unique and best about the market’s community, local crops, ethnic traditions and creative chefs,” Behle says.
To celebrate its 10th year, SSOM is going back to its roots to revisit monthly themes from the past decade. June’s theme is Dog Days and will feature a contest for Best Trick, Best Costume, Cutest Dog and Best Owner/Dog Look-a-Like as well as a parade and Dog Photo Booth hosted by Save the Animals.
The June event also includes a performance by Us, Today at 2 p.m. at the MOTR Stage and a cooking demo by Bryn Mooth, author of the Findlay Market Cookbook, and Katie Zaidan of Mediterranean Imports at 2:30 p.m.
There will also be beer ambassadors pouring at the Cincinnati Sports League’s Beer Garden on behalf of different nonprofits or community groups each month. June’s ambassadors are the Cincinnati Young Black Professionals. Food trucks Bistro de Mohr, Dojo Gelato, Empanadas Aqui, Fireside Pizza and Hungry Brothers will be at SSOM areas to supplement the 30 participating bars, restaurants, shops and galleries and 80 artists and vendors.

The remaining 2015 SSOMs are “Pride” July 12, “EcoMAINia” Aug. 9, “Dance on Main” Sept. 13 and “Foodie Finale” Oct. 11.
“As OTR continues to grow, Second Sunday will continue to define itself as a community-driven festival,” Behle says. “I love that Second Sunday was, and continues to be, built by the neighborhood. It’s largely volunteer-run by residents and business owners and changes and adapts in response to the community’s needs.”

Cincinnati's local food movement spurred by Partners for Places grant

The City of Cincinnati recently received a $105,000 Partners for Places grant to help strengthen the area’s local food ecosystem by supporting civic engagement, developing new food policies, creating the Cincy Food Fund and funding food fellowships. The grant was matched by Interact for Health and the Haile Foundation, stretching the potential impact even farther.
“Although the food movement can be very foodie and high-end, the robust and growing local food movement is also very sensitive to the underserved populations,” says Brewster Rhoads, outgoing executive director of Green Umbrella. “We’re committed to equity and access to local food, and this helps improve the health and overall welfare of our citizens while also growing small businesses with local dollars.”
The grant is being managed and administered by Green Umbrella, whose Local Food Action Team is at the focal point of Cincinnati’s local food movement.
“The whole notion of farm-to-table isn’t new,” Rhoads says. “What is new is the level of collaboration that is developing among those who are interested in and engaged in working with food.”
As part of this, Interact for Health recently changed its focus from healthcare to prevention, with two of the group’s four main focus areas being active living and healthy eating. The organization is helping develop the region’s walking/biking trails and funded the creation of Green Umbrella’s Local Food Action Team, which hopes to double the amount of food grown and consumed in the region by 2020.
Interact for Health also funded the Assessment of Local Food in Greater Cincinnati, which has lead to the formation of a number of local groups and organizations committed to Cincinnati’s local food movement.
“With all of these things falling into place, the food movement is just exploding,” Rhoads says. “There’s a burgeoning restaurant explosion in the region, and not just in Over-the-Rhine. With the growing interest in local food by chefs, they’re sourcing food from the region, which is creating a whole new outlet for growers in the region.”
The grants will be used to help provide funding for innovative projects that the Greater Cincinnati Regional Food Policy Council, which was launched three months ago, commissions through its four teams — production, distribution, access and land use. The teams will have funding to support pilot projects in each area of interest.
They’ll also be used for the Cincy Food Fund, which is patterned after a similar program in Indianapolis, and to underwrite the Food Fellows, who will do three-month internships that focus on production, distribution, community education and land use.
“We’re focusing on helping grow the next generation of food activists,” Rhoads says.
Part of this focus on local food comes down to the everyday consumer. Green Umbrella’s Local Food Action Team is encouraging people to commit themselves to spending 10 percent of their grocery budget on food that’s grown in the region. That act would put almost $50 million back into the local food movement.
“By changing this behavior and encouraging people to do this, it will help increase the demand on food grown in the region, and production demand will follow,” Rhoads says. 

Art wall to help deter crime, improve curb appeal of Pike Street

In the past year, Pike Street in Covington has seen a number of changes — renovated buildings, new businesses and apartments — that are helping attract new residents to the area.
The Pike Street Art Wall, spearheaded by architect and Covington resident Chris Meyer, will add to the neighborhood's positive news. The wall, located at 218 Pike St. and owned by Meyer, will display art from local and regional artists.
The project recently received one of eight Creative Community grants from the Center for Great Neighborhoods. The $5,000 grant will help Meyer curate the art wall and contribute to funding the space's upkeep and visual look.
Each display will be about 3-by-5 ft. and be covered with a sheet of acrylic to help protect artwork from the weather and vandalism. The wall will have three separate display areas for all kinds of 2D artwork.
Besides artwork, the project will also include an overhang to provide further protection from the elements, a few LED spotlights to help illuminate the displays at night and some flowers. 
The art wall will also help keep unwanted trespassers out of the vacant lot between 218 and 214 Pike, which has been a problem in the past. Meyer hopes to acquire the lot in the future.

Observatory engages community through stargazing events

The Cincinnati Observatory is truly a 19th Century landmark, built in 1873 by Samuel Hannaford and home to one of the world’s oldest working telescopes. In an effort to turn back the clock to those days, a number of restorations in the past 15 years have helped “demodernize” the facility located on the edge of Ault Park.
“We like to make things how it used to be,” says Dean Regas, outreach astronomer for the observatory. “With the restorations, we wanted to get back to craftsmanship and give people a more authentic experience.”
For example, the observatory’s two domes used to be operated by a motor. After seeing in a book that the domes used to be operated by a hand crank, Regas resurrected the hand cranks from the observatory basement and installed them.
The observatory has two telescopes — an 11-inch Merz and Mahler refractor that was built in 1842 and a 16-inch Alvan Clark and Sons refractor from 1904. The telescopes are used daily by the public during a number of events as well as on Astronomy Thursdays and Fridays. Admission ranges from $5 to $15 depending on the event.
For the past 10 years the observatory has hosted end-of-the-year school fieldtrips, many of which result from observatory staff going into classrooms and talking about astronomy.
Upcoming events for the general public include planet-themed nights, where people can see unobstructed views of the month’s most visible planet; Sunday Sun-day Sundae on June 14, which is an ice cream social with solar viewing; and the third Celestial Sips Wine Tasting Event on June 20 to celebrate the summer solstice.
This year, the observatory is partnering with Wurst Bar for the Wurst Date Night Ever on July 23. Participants will start at Wurst Bar, 3204 Linwood Ave. in Mt. Lookout, take a shuttle up to the observatory for a night under the stars and then head back to the bar for happy hour.
On Aug. 29, the observatory is also hosting a starlit picnic on the lawn. Guests can bring a picnic and watch the sun set and the moon rise over the city.
Apart from the observatory’s many events, the University of Cincinnati, which owns the observatory, uses the telescopes for a number of classes, including continuing education classes through the Communiversity program
For more information on the observatory’s programming, visit its website.

OTR continues to introduce new retail and food/drink options

The Over-the-Rhine economy continues to boom, with new street-level businesses opening every week. Entities like 3CDC, The Model Group, Urban Sites and Over-the-Rhine Community Housing have helped spur much of the residential development in the neighborhood, and the influx of residents has led to a demand for more retail and eateries.
A number of new storefronts have opened recently, with several restaurants coming on-line soon to add to the area’s eclectic and diverse options. Here's a quick roundup:
Continuum, 1407 Vine St.
DAAP grad Erica Leighton-Spradlin opened Continuum on May 8. She curates home décor, gifts and women’s clothing items that are designed by local artists.
Elm & Iron, 1326 Vine St.
Columbus-based Elm & Iron opened its first Cincinnati location on May 13. The store sells a mix of new and vintage industrial home décor pieces and accessories.
Idlewild Woman, 1232 Vine St.
Article's sister store Idlewild Woman opened on May 16. The shop features clothing and one-of-a-kind home accessories exclusively for women.
Kit and Ace, 1405 Vine St.
Created by the family of Lululemon Athletica’s founder, Kit and Ace focuses on luxury clothing. The OTR store will be the company’s third U.S. location, with the others in NYC and San Francisco. It's expected to open June 5.

Low Spark, 15 W. 14th St.
The overall concept and opening date are still under wraps for this tiny bar from the 4EG folks, but keep a tab on its Facebook page for updates.
16-Bit Bar+Arcade, 1331 Walnut St.
Stepping into 16-Bit Bar+Arcade promises to be like a blast from the past, with arcade games, music and drinks straight out of the ‘80s and ‘90s. Work at the site is ongoing, and owner Troy Allen is shooting for an early summer opening.
TBA, 1429 Walnut St.
An as-yet-to-be-announced restaurant concept from the owners of Cheapside Café and The Rookwood.

Bad Tom Brewery undergoing changes, keeping beer recipes

Bad Tom Smith Brewing will be undergoing changes in the coming months to enhance its customers’ experience. The beer will remain the same, but the look and feel of the brewery itself will undergo a facelift.
Bad Tom opened as Double Barrel Brewery in 2013 under the direction of Sean Smith and Charles Boucher, who left the business at the beginning of this year. Smith then brought on two friends, John Vojtush and Sheryl Gittins, who are now majority owners, with 70 percent ownership; Smith, his mother and two others retain the other 30 percent.
Jeff Graff, owner of Paradise Brewing Supplies, was recently brought on as Bad Tom’s head brewer and is also an equity partner in the business. A full-time assistant brewer, Eric Napier, was also hired.
Bad Tom Smith beer recipes will remain the same, but Graff and Napier plan to better the products’ overall quality. Changes will also be made to improve the taproom experience and make it more inviting for customers. Bad Tom is working with a new marketing partner as well, and the overall brewery and taproom will soon have more of a Western saloon feel.
Plans are also being circulated for a new brewery location, which could happen as early as the first quarter of 2016.
Bad Tom is open from 5-10 p.m. Wednesdays, 5-11 p.m. Thursdays, 4-11 p.m. Fridays and 1-11 p.m. Saturdays. The brewery is located at 4720 Eastern Ave., East End.

Cincinnati State adds craft beer classes to help grow local job market

Starting this fall, Cincinnati State will offer two classes that are designed to complement the city’s growing craft beer industry. Both classes will be three credit hours and available only to students taking other Cincinnati State classes.
Carla Gesell-Streeter, chair of the Communication and Theater Department at Cincinnati State and co-owner of the Hoperatives blog, designed the classes. She’s been writing about Cincinnati’s beer culture for about six years and has seen the number of active breweries and brewpubs here grow from five in 2009 to about 30 by the end of this year.
“These classes will help bring exposure to what the professional world of brewing is,” she says. “Right now, if a brewery wants to hire a brewer with experience, they have to hire away from another brewery. The same is true for sales representatives at different brewing distributors. As a community college, we look at the workforce and identify the need. We’re looking to help build up the field and the knowledge basis.”
Gesell-Streeter submitted a proposal to the school four years ago for the new classes and recently took a sabbatical to research different programs.
BREW 100: Introduction to Craft Beer will be offered for the first time in the fall. The class will cover the history of beer and brewing as well as the different styles of beer. The class will also partner with Rhinegeist to design a beer, which will be brewed and tapped at the brewery. A sales and marketing rep will then talk to the class about possible next steps to roll out the new beer. If another section is added in the fall due to demand and when the class is offered again in the spring, a different local brewery will be invited to work with the class.
BREW 160: Sensory Evaluation will focus on cicerone, which is the craft beer equivalent of wine sommelier. There are three different levels of cicerone, with BREW 100 getting people ready for the first level, certified beer server. BREW 160 will focus more on the second and third levels, which deal with how a beer tastes and when a beer doesn’t taste right. At this point, BREW 160 doesn’t have a true pre-requisite, but it will require instructor approval.
“These classes aren’t about homebrewing, but more for people who are trying to get into the business of craft beer,” Gesell-Streeter says.
If you’re a Cincinnati State student who is interested in either beer class, email Gesell-Streeter at carla.gesell-streeter@cincinnatistate.edu for more information.
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