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Over-the-Rhine continues to boom with new businesses


A number of new businesses have opened in Over-the-Rhine over the past few months, especially in the Findlay Market area north of Liberty Street as residential developments continue to crop up. We’ve rounded up a few of the neighborhood's newest and provide the low-down on what you’ll find.
 

Dirt: A Modern Market at Findlay Market, 131 W. Elder St.
Hours: 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday

Dirt brings a year-round marketplace to Cincinnati that will help connect consumers with local producers. The full-time retail store sells only locally produced fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses and dairy products along with a number of other goods.
 
Dirt also functions as a consignment store where growers and producers can rent space on a weekly or monthly basis. They keep 70 to 80 percent of their gross sales, construct individual displays and set their own prices. It gives producers the opportunity to continue selling their goods even when they aren’t physically at Findlay Market.
 

OTR Candy Bar, 1735 Elm St.
Hours: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday

Co-owner Mike Petzelf’s brother purchased the building on Elm Street, and then the family came up with the idea for a candy store. After renovations and build-out, they opened the doors in April.  
 
OTR Candy Bar offers a large variety of bulk candies, which are locally and nationally sourced, as well as more than 50 soda flavors. Customers can mix their own 4-pack to take home or enjoy one while they’re strolling through Findlay Market.

 
3 Sweet Girls Cakery, 29 E. 12th St., Over-the-Rhine
Hours: 10:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday

This Kenwood-based bakery opened its second location in OTR just in time for the All Star Game. The shop offers a variety of items to satisfy your sweet tooth, including eight cupcake flavors and 15 cake pop flavors; their specialty is a Flying Pig Cake Pop.

3 Sweet Girls also sells decorated cookies, chocolate pretzels and Oreos, cake push-ups and cupcakes in a jar, plus special treats for your furry friend.
 
 
Goods on Main, 1300 Main St., Over-the-Rhine
Hours: Thursday-Sunday, subject to change

Goods is a retail collective with an ever-revolving, themed inventory. It opened in June and currently has everything you would need for an adventure, whether that be outdoors or in the kitchen.   

The store also has an event space, which is used for special occasions in OTR like Second Sundays on Main and Final Friday. There are plans to expand Goods into that event space to become a much larger store.
 

Center for Great Neighborhoods awards grants to eight creative Covington projects


The Center for Great Neighborhoods recently awarded $38,000 in Creative Community Grants to eight Covington residents and organizations. The grants are made possible through the Kresge Foundation, which works to implement creative placemaking activities in Covington.
 
Five of the eight awards were given to projects in Covington’s Westside neighborhood, which has a strong "maker" identity. Like the first round of grants, this round focuses on projects that commemorate Covington’s bicentennial and will help create arts opportunities in the neighborhood.
 
AJOYO, Baoku Moses: $4,000
AJOYO will focus on creating a series of community events in the style of African musical celebrations.
 
Bicentennial Time Capsule, CVG Made, Steven Sander, COV200: $5,000
CVG Made and COV200 are partnering with Sander, a local maker, to create a time capsule of Covington-inspired material to installed at the Hellmann Lumber Mill, which the Center for Great Neighborhoods is redeveloping. The community will vote on what goes into the time capsule, and Sander will design it. COV200 plans to host a ceremony in the fall to present the time capsule and its contents to the public before it’s locked up for the next 100 years.
 
Community xChange, Julia Keister: $5,000
The program will help establish an arts- and nature-focused internship network for those with disabilities.
 
Covington Story Project, Covington Youth Commission: $4,000
CYC will collect stories about the past, present and future from kids growing up in Covington. Local photographer Katie Woodring and writing instructor Roger Auge of Wallace Woods will help the kids put their thoughts into words and pictures, which will then be made into a booklet as well as displayed at the Kenton County Public Library.
 
Dougherty Claywork Architectural Ceramics, Patrick Dougherty: $5,000
Dougherty will create a piece of ceramic art that combines the influences of the Westside’s past and present. The public will have input into the project and will even get to work alongside him in his studio.
 
Past & Present Fashion, Annie Brown: $5,000
The B Visible team will offer six-week sewing classes to students at Holmes Middle School and Prince of Peace School. Students will combine the needlework of the past with the technology of the future to create wearable art, which will be displayed at Holmes, Prince of Peace and the Covington Library.
 
Try Together Fly Together, Jim Guthrie: $5,000
A large-scale mural will be created and installed through a partnership with Matt Hebermehl, an artist from Savannah, Ga. The mural will celebrate Covington’s 200th birthday as well as express optimism about the future.
 
Welcome to the Westside, BLDG: $5,000
BLDG will create a gateway mural that invites residents and visitors to the Westside.
 

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. 
 

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.
 

Second annual Quest for the Queen provides participants a day of adventure


In its second year, Quest for the Queen will lead participants on an “Amazing Race” of sorts through Cincinnati May 23. Teams of two compete for a prize, but they can’t use cars, smart phones, the Internet or navigation systems to get from Point A to Point B.
 
At the beginning of the event, participants are given a stack of riddles that will direct them to different local landmarks and small businesses. Teams can choose how they want to tackle the clues and can visit the landmarks in any order. Teams have to snap a photo at each stop to prove they were there.
 
Since teams can’t use their phones to look up an answer to a clue, Quest for the Queen forces people to interact with strangers to figure out where to go next.
 
“We were pretty ambitious last year as to how much people could do,” says John Klinger, who organizes the event with friend Matt Feldhaus. “The winners finished in seven-and-a-half hours, and when everyone arrived at the end location at Rhinegeist they were exhausted. There were a few too many checkpoints, and they were too spread out.”
 
This year’s event will cover less mileage and fewer checkpoints. There will also be two different routes — one for bicyclists and one for walkers or bus riders. Everyone had the same route last year, and those not on bikes weren’t competitive. The checkpoints and riddles will be different between bikers and non-bikers.
 
“This event gives people a way to see the city in a new light,” Klinger says. “When you live somewhere, you often forget about its little quirks. You get in your habits and you forget about things that are there, but you don’t usually do them.”
 
The event starts between 9:30 and 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 23 at Washington Park. The checkpoints will be spread across different neighborhoods but stay within Cincinnati city limits, so participants won’t be crossing over into Northern Kentucky or visiting the suburbs.
 
The cost is $30 per person, and 100 percent of the money goes back to funding the event. Dinner is provided at the end of the race, and participants receive Metro passes so they can ride the bus between locations if they wish. Each team member also gets a Quest for the Queen T-shirt, and the winners receive a prize, which hasn’t been announced yet.
 
The deadline to sign up is May 18. Visit questforthequeen.webs.com to register for the race, or send an email to questforthequeen@gmail.com for more information.  
 

With building purchased, what's next for Clifton Market?


The Clifton Market co-op recently purchased the old IGA building at 319 Ludlow Ave. in Clifton, completing one phase of a long process to bring a grocery store back to the business district.

The market currently has more than 1,000 members and is aiming for 1,500 by the summer and 2,000 by the time the new market opens near the end of 2015. The co-op has raised about $1.3 million so far, with plans to continue fundraising in the coming months.
 
“This store isn’t just for Clifton, it’s for the whole Cincinnati area,” says Adam Hyland, president of the Clifton Market board. “We want it to be uniquely Cincinnati as well as a celebration of what a grocery can be.”
 
The old co-op model, in which shareowners work in the store, isn’t as popular any more. Clifton Market’s model is a democratic form of ownership, which means that no matter how many shares you own no one can buy out majority ownership and each shareowner gets one vote to elect the board.
 
“When we first approached the community about a grocery store, they wanted a sustainable, long-term system, and that’s exactly what this model is,” Hyland says.
 
Shareowners vote for board members, and a general manager will then report to the board on how the day-to-day business is going. One of the things that will set the market apart from other grocery stores will be its staff, which Hyland says will be chosen carefully in order to help provide the ultimate grocery store experience for customers.
 
The 23,000-square-foot space will be a full-service grocery, with everything from natural, healthy options to Pampers and dog food. The market will have what the community needs and will also boast the community’s culture, Hyland says.
 
Highlights will include special attractions, signature products and featured products, all with a housemade objective. Keith Wicks, a grocery market analyst who has been helping develop Clifton Market, says that the market will partner with a few specialty retail partners — specifically bakery partners — to bring back the old stone-ground, German master pastry ways.
 
“There are lots of really interesting foodie-related things happening in the business district in general, and we hope that the market helps make it a foodie’s destination, both locally and nationally,” Wicks says.
 
Since Clifton’s IGA closed, the Ludlow Avenue business district has lost about 40 percent of its business, Wicks says. He hopes that Clifton Market will bring back that traffic and help promote the street’s other retailers and services.
 
“We’re all in this together,” Wicks says. “As the anchor goes, so goes the district.”
 
The market’s business model projects that it will see about 10,000 transactions per week, with about 15,000 people coming through the door. That kind of foot traffic will benefit not only Clifton Market but the surrounding businesses as well.

Apart from turning a profit, Clifton Market has another objective: to work cooperatively with the Ludlow Business District. Even though retailers like Ludlow Wines will offer some of the same items as Clifton Market, it won't be a competition for customers. Ludlow Wines will have something that Clifton Market doesn't, and vice versa. Plus, if you need to pick up a bottle of wine for dinner, you'll also be able to pick up the things you need to make dinner from the market.

“Part of the idea of the co-op business model is that you’re community-minded,” Hyland says. “Most businesses are about how much profit can you get out of one location, but we’re focusing on how much profit can we help bring to the business district. As a business ecosystem, we all rely on each other.”
 
The goal is to have the market open in about six months, but that timeline could change depending on how quickly additional fundraising money comes in. Once the funds are raised, interior and exterior remodeling will happen quickly.
 
If you’re interested in being a shareowner in the Clifton Market, you can purchase shares online for $200. There is also an option to make an owner loan to the market, which will be paid back 100 percent in full.
 
Clifton Market is hosting a foodie event on June 14, when the market’s wholesaler, produce supplier and Boar’s Head will be providing tastes of a wide range of products. They’re still looking for vendors to participate; those interested can contact Charles Marxen, field developer, at 614-432-6663.
 

Brewery culture continues to grow, this time in Walnut Hills


Chris Mitchell, formerly of Listermann Brewing, has been homebrewing for about 15 years. After talking with a number of partners, he decided to pursue opening The Woodburn Brewery, which will debut later this summer at 2800 Woodburn Ave. in Walnut Hills.
 
“The neighborhood is up-and-coming and looks like it will be a nice entertainment district here pretty soon,” Mitchell says.
 
The building, which was built in the early 1900s, is just over 4,000 square feet and is being designed as taproom/brewery with capacity for about 120. Mitchell says they’re going to cater to the taproom experience and customers won’t feel like they’re in a brewery, even though they’ll be able to see the tanks through a giant glass wall.
 
“Lots of breweries feel like you’re sitting in a brew house, but we’re going for a different experience,” he says. “This will be somewhere everyone wants to go.”
 
The Woodburn Brewery will open with 4-6 flagship beers, including a pineapple saison, a cedar IPA and a German pilsner. The recipe and name of the German pilsner, which will be released at opening, comes from Espelkamper Brau in Germany — the owner of that brewery won four gold medals for the pilsner and has signed over the rights and name to The Woodburn Brewery.
 
Mitchell also plans to release seasonal beers and sours as well as bourbon barrel releases, experimental batches and limited-edition bottle releases. The Woodburn Brewery will also be serving from Brite tanks, which means that the beer is carbonated and served from the same tank.
 
There are plans to distribute to bars, restaurants and retail stores, but Mitchell says they’ll start small with a few select spots. When the brewery opens, there won’t be a food menu, but there a light appetizer menu is in the works.
 
The Woodburn Brewery will partner with Firehouse Pizza and local food trucks to feed their customers in the first few months, Mitchell says, and there are talks of a cidery/restaurant in the future.
 
“We’re excited to see the explosion of breweries happening in Cincinnati,” Mitchell says. “We’re also excited to see Cincinnati restored to its original brewery status. In its heyday, there were a ton of breweries here and Cincinnati was known for its beer. We’re excited to be part of it and to see lots of new faces pop up.”
 

Summit Park in Blue Ash to get tristate's first bike park


Plans were unveiled for the area’s first bike park at Cincinnati Off-Road Alliance’s annual meeting at the end of March. Located in Blue Ash’s newly opened 130-acre, $75 million Summit Park, the area will be a training course for mountain bikers of all ages and skill levels.
 
The first phase of Summit Park opened in August with an open-ended playground, lawn, a quarter-mile trail, restrooms and community meeting spaces. A large stage is slated for completion in May and will be the site of Buckle Up Music Festival in 2016 and the annual Taste of Blue Ash.
 
Phase 2 is to be ready in the fall and will include a 17,000-square-foot community building with an indoor and outdoor glass canopy and plaza as well as a 4,000-square-foot space for Brown Dog Cafe, which is currently located nearby at 5893 Pfeiffer Road.
 
The bike park, which was suggested by Blue Ash residents during the rewrite of the city’s parks and recreation master plan, would cost about $1 million to construct and would include a cyclocross training area, a skills station and a pavilion where spectators can sit and watch bicyclists.
 
The City of Blue Ash paid about $15,000 for a conceptual plan for the bike park, and the Parks and Recreation department will apply for grants for the bulk of the project’s funding.
 
Cincinnati Off-Road Alliance is a grassroots cycling group that promotes and maintains more than 60 miles of mountain bike trails in Ohio and Northern Kentucky, including trails at Caesar Creek State Park, Devou Park, East Fork State Park, England Idlewild, Harbin Park, Hueston Woods State Park, Landen Deerfield Park, Mitchell Memorial Forest, Terrell Park and Tower Park.
 

Deeper Roots movement expands to include coffee shop in Oakley


Members of the Deeper Roots Coffee team have been involved in various aspects of coffee for the past decade. They started a coffee roasterie in Mt. Healthy four years ago and have been supplying coffee to local restaurants and cafés, and on April 1 they opened their own coffee shop in Oakley.  
 
“I think every barista and coffee person dreams of having a coffee shop,” says Jon Lewis, head of customer engagement for Deeper Roots and manager of the shop. “It’s an expression of how you work with coffee, and it’s the end of a very long journey of where coffee comes from.”
 
Deeper Roots’ owners feel that a lot is owed to the people who produce the coffee they roast and then sell. The roasterie blossomed from a development project in Guatemala — Deeper Roots Development — that works to improve the communities of small coffee farmers.
 
“We take for granted where coffee comes from,” Lewis says. “The history of coffee isn’t so great in terms of world trade and how the haves and have nots start to separate out. But with Deeper Roots, we have the opportunity to pull the two together.”
 
Deeper Roots sees the 750-square-foot café at 3056 Madison Road as more than just a behind-the-scenes environment, where the baristas don’t just push buttons on machines. Not all coffee is created equal, and the baristas will be available to teach customers the differences between the different types of coffee as well as how best to enjoy it.
 
The menu features about 12 different types of coffee that come from the company’s roasterie, including a handful of single-origin coffees and seasonal house blends. Deeper Roots also has iced coffee on tap and coffee on nitro tap, which is carbonated coffee that pours much like a Guinness with a creamy head.

There’s also a small food menu that includes croissants, toast with a variety of toppings and spreads and cookies, all sourced from local providers.
 
“Oakley represents a vibrant community, and everyone recognizes it as such,” Lewis says. “Coffee bars like this will flourish there, as it would anywhere that people want to gather around food or beverage.”
 
Deeper Roots café is open from 6:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday and 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
 

Circus Mojo bringing another brewery to Northern Kentucky


Paul Miller, owner of Circus Mojo in Ludlow, Ky., is once again driving economic development in the city. This spring, he plans to open Bircus Brewing Co., which will combine the circus with a brewery.
 
Miller got the idea for a bircus after visiting Ghent, Belgium, where performers at Circusplaneet earn money to operate their circus by selling beer. He got permission to license the concept and plans to use Belgian-inspired recipes for Bircus beer.
 
He also partnered with Marc Wendt of BrandFuel Co. to design the Bircus concept from the ground up.
 
When Miller bought the old Ludlow Theater five years ago, there wasn’t much going on Ludlow — there wasn’t even a grocery store. Now, there’s a grocery store, a new art gallery, two coffee shops, three restaurants and a soon-to-be distillery.
 
“Ludlow used to have more bars than anywhere in Greater Cincinnati,” Miller says. “It was a railroad town, and there were three different shifts on the railroad, with about 10 bars that workers frequented. We want Bircus to be a place where people come and can find a beer that they like, a beer for the every man.”  
 
Bircus will take over part of the theater, which is the current home of Circus Mojo. Miller also owns an old church around the corner from the theater, and he plans to move the Institute of Social Circus to the church to make room for the brewery and taproom.
 
In order to open the brewery, a number of renovations need to be done to the theater, including installing a ticket booth and marquee out front, putting on a new roof and creating a VIP balcony for private events in the old projection booth. Miller says that not much needs to be done to the building’s interior because it was a factory after the movie theater closed and was stripped down to the bones.
 
Miller recently got the building on the National Register of History Places. Because of that designation, Bircus will receive state and federal historic tax credits for renovation purposes. Miller also was approved by the Kentucky Department of Transportation for a tourism development loan to help with the project.
 
Ten percent of the profits from Bircus will be donated to the Social Circus Fund, which helps underwrite programs for children in Ludlow, nursing homes and hospitals. Bircus will also help bring more circus performers to the area, and Miller hopes to sell enough beer to bring a circus from Belgium to Ludlow.

And the bar or restaurant that sells the most Bircus beer during a given period will get a visit from Circus Mojo performers.
 
“I want to drive more international traffic to Greater Cincinnati,” Miller says. “I want to keep leveraging unique opportunities and expertise.”
 
Bircus is still looking for a brewmaster, and Miller is planning to hold interviews on Jan. 31.
 

Cincinnati's beer culture still on the rise


Greater Cincinnati has become a craft beer Mecca in recent years. The last quarter of 2014 has seen much of that growth, with new breweries and bottle shops popping up all over the city. The local demand for craft beer is driving growth, of course, but so is each brewer’s passion for making beer.
 
With extended family in town for the holidays, this might be the perfect time to check out some of these places.
 
Blank Slate Brewing Company
4233 Airport Road, East End

Started in 2011 by Scott LaFollette, Blank Slate has grown from a draft-only distribution operation into a taproom. PourHouse opened in late November and features eight rotating taps.
 
The Growler House
1526 Madison Road, East Walnut Hills
The Growler House features 40 taps, 20 of which are dedicated to local breweries. It opened Dec. 2 and allows customers to stop in, sample a beer and then have a pint or fill up a 64-oz. growler to take home.
 
River Ghost
Erlanger, Ky.
Rhinegeist just launched distribution in Northern Kentucky and will be delivering to restaurants and grocery stores in the region. River Ghost will also be delivering wine from an undisclosed customer and plans to distribute beer from other local craft breweries in the near future.
 
Tap and Screw Brewery
5060 Crookshank Road, Covedale
The owners of Tom & Jerry’s Sports Bar added a brewery and taproom onto their existing restaurant. Tap and Screw opened to the public on Dec. 19 and will feature craft beer and local wines. The restaurant revamped its menu, and because the restaurant already has a liquor license the taproom also has a full bar.
 
Keep an eye out for the following ventures, too. They’re not open yet, but there's already a lot of buzz surrounding these spots.
 
Braxton Brewery
27 W. Seventh St., Covington
Evan Rouse, a six-year homebrewer, and brewing veteran Richard Dube are the masterminds behind Braxton Brewery. They plan to have 15-20 beers on tap, with both core and seasonal beers. The opening date is still up in the air, but early 2015 is the plan.
 
Casual Pint
Location TBD
Tennessee-based Casual Pint will offer 30 rotating taps of local and regional beers, which will be available by the pint or in growlers to take home. The food menu will include bar food staples like soft pretzels with beer cheese and wings. It’s slated to open in the third quarter of 2015 and will be the first location outside of Tennessee.
 
DogBerry Brewing
7865 Cincinnati Dayton Road, West Chester
Cincinnati’s first nanobrewery plans to open in the next few weeks. DogBerry will have 10 beers on tap, including their year-round rye pale ale, IPA, Kolsch, brown ale, blonde ale and five seasonals.
 
Fibonacci Brewing Company
1445 Compton Road, Mt. Healthy
Labeled as an ultranano brewery, Fibonacci will have a one-barrel system that will allow for about 300 beers per batch. Owners Bob and Betty Bollas plan to have an Imperial IPA, a Kolsch and an Imperial Stout on tap to start with when the taproom and brewery open in the spring.
 
Geo. Wiedemann Brewing Co.
530 York St., Newport
Wiedemann beer recently came back on the market when Jon Newberry bought the brand rights. He plans to open a brewery and taproom in Newport’s WaterTower Square, which he hopes to have up and running by Reds Opening Day 2015.
 

Pedal Wagon, Halfcut owner opens coworking space in OTR


Jack Heekin, owner of Over-the-Rhine’s Pedal Wagon and Halfcut, recently opened up a coworking space dubbed The Office attached to Halfcut at 12th and Walnut Streets. Gomez Salsa, Push Pull Studios, Squirrel Films and Venn have joined Halfcut and the Pedal Wagon so far, and Heekin says there’s an open door policy.
 
“People are always coming in and out, and more and more people are asking about using it,” he says. "The Office is definitely open to whoever wants to use it."
 
Heekin says The Office evolved on its own: As he opened Halfcut and his friend from high school, Andrew Gomez, opened Gomez Salsa next door, they each realized they needed an office. They turned Halfcut’s storage space into The Office — it’s between the kitchen, which Gomez Salsa uses, and Halfcut’s bar.
 
The space has slowly developed into a place for friends and friends of friends to come in and work together.
 
The bottom floor is just under 1,000 square feet and has a lounge area for meetings as well as a ping pong table for hanging out. The second floor is about 300 square feet, with a number of desks for companies to work at and share ideas.
 
“The Office will help add to the big picture and overall success of Cincinnati,” Heekin says. “If another startup needs help with something, you’ll be able to get it, as well as pitch ideas and collaborate with others.”
 

Lifelong musician/artist Waller opens downtown art gallery


You might know Dick Waller from his 34 years as principal clarinetist for the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra or the Linton Music Series, but you might not know that he’s also a painter. Waller, 85, opened an art gallery and studio in November, Dick Waller’s Art Place.
 
Two years ago, Waller showed 150 paintings at the Clifton Cultural Arts Center and realized if he wanted to continue doing shows of that size he needed a larger space. He found the building at 130 W. Court St. about a year ago, and with the help of the building’s landlord he's transformed the space into an inviting gallery that feels like a living room.
 
The 2,000-square-foot gallery includes a cozy seating area in the middle and studio in the rear of the space. Waller says he spends four or five nights a week there for about five hours, creating new pieces. Each of his 290 pieces look as if they're alive, which can be contributed to the fact that he listens to classical music as he paints. And if he doesn't like something, he brushes it off, leaving a unique combination of colors.
 
“At 20, I went to an art exhibit in New York and became enthralled,” Waller says. “I went home and created my first painting in my basement, which my daughter has hanging in her house.”
 
Unlike Waller’s more recent work, his daughter Margy calls the first piece “Paris Metro.” The rest of his paintings are titled “Contrasts” after a piece he loved to play by the same name. Waller then numbers each piece with Roman Numerals, much like symphony opuses. That way, when they’re set up in the gallery viewers can enjoy them how they wish.
 
Waller was on the leading edge of audience development for classical music locally, starting the 801 Plum Concerts, which aimed to get young professionals interested in classical music, as well as Peanut Butter and Jams for children ages 3-6 and their parents. And now he’s on the leading edge of helping to develop a new neighborhood.
 
Waller wants the gallery to be a community space where people gather for coffee and hang out. He plans to host events, both large and small, as well as hold meetings for the Cincinnati Abstract Art Group. 
 
“I want to help bring life to this area,” he says. “It’s a new frontier, and I see it being a very live place in the next few years.”
 

Business accelerator opening storefront in OTR


Business accelerator MORTAR is opening a storefront at 1327 Vine St. in Over-the-Rhine to provide space for entrepreneurs to operate their businesses while taking full advantage of support services. Called Brick OTR, the space hosts its first brand, Originalitees, from Nov. 28 to Dec. 28.
 
“We took a step back and looked at the landscape of Cincinnati,” says William Thomas II, leadership strategist and business developer for MORTAR. “The city is on the brink of a major comeback, and we wanted to make sure we were growing collectively. We also saw there were many others who wanted to take part in the progress who are often overlooked.”
 
Thomas and his partners Derrick Braziel and Allen Woods realized that many of OTR’s longtime residents were getting left behind as the neighborhood’s landscape was changing. MORTAR is designed to provide support for entrepreneurs or business owners who face barriers, including race, socioeconomic status, access to capital or institutional expertise.
 
MORTAR is open to entrepreneurs who have the desire to take their idea, listen to feedback, pivot and do what's needed to succeed.
 
“Our plan is to assist these entrepreneurs, whether they’re starting a new business or growing an existing business throughout the course, mentorship and continued guidance,” Braziel says.
 
The storefront is only 380 square feet but has the space for up to two businesses at a time. Businesses can rent out Brick OTR for a day, a week or a month, so the brands you see will be constantly changing. Follow Brick OTR on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for upcoming concepts.
 
“One week you might stop in and see two brands working side-by-side, and next time one brand will have the entire space,” Thomas says. “We want to encourage people to stop in frequently because you never know what you’ll find.”
 
Brick OTR is currently only in Over-the-Rhine, but MORTAR’s goal for the coming years is to have multiple locations in underserved areas all over the city.

CAC to get artistic new lobby, hours in 2015


The Contemporary Arts Center’s Kaplan Hall lobby will close to visitors Jan. 6 for a $1.1 million renovation, which was designed and will be completed by FRCH Design Worldwide. The CAC will remain open during construction, and the lobby is scheduled to reopen March 13.
 
Lobby renovations include a new lounge space, a café and a relocated welcome desk and gift shop. The café will offer coffee, breakfast, lunch and evening treats and will have an open layout with communal tables. The new lounge area will feature lounge chairs and sofas, artistic lighting and a series of art installations.
 
The welcome desk, which is currently off to the side by the elevator, is being moved so the staff can better greet CAC visitors. The gift shop will be moved to a more central location, and its inventory will become a better curated collection that highlights local, national and international artists and artisanal items.
 
The new lobby will feature commissioned artwork from three artists: Cincinnatian Matt Kotlarczyk will create two large-scale chandeliers that will resemble clouds and water; Assume Vivid Astro Focus, whose founders are based out of NYC and Paris, will create expressive wallpaper and wall paintings; and Erwin Redl of Bowling Green, Ohio, will develop an installation to cover the entire "urban carpet" from the lobby up to the sixth floor of the CAC.
 
The CAC is also in talks with AVAF for a large-scale mural on the building's exterior.
 
The CAC’s hours will change beginning in March. The gallery will be open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday-Monday and 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Wednesday-Friday. The lobby and café will be open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, 7 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday and Tuesday and 7 a.m.-9 p.m. Wednesday-Friday.
 
During the renovation process, visitors will enter the CAC through the door next to the loading dock on Sixth Street, and admission will be free during construction.
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