Patience has been an important ingredient in the creation of High Bank Distillery Co., a combined restaurant, bar and distillery that opened June 4 on Goodale Boulevard.
"We've been working on this concept for about four years, and during that time, our focus changed from opening a brewery to distilling," said High Bank president Jordan Helman. "Even four years ago, the craft-brewing scene in Columbus was blowing up so much the market was in danger of getting saturated."
When Ohio's laws regarding distilling loosened, "we knew that would be a good direction to go into," said Adam Hines.
Hines and Helman have partnered with Calvin Jones and Jeff Ireland to open High Bank at 1051 W. Goodale Blvd., once the site of warehouse space for Thomas W. Ruff. Co.
The distilling movement is beginning to bubble up now that Ohio has increased distillers' manufacturing limits, allows them to sell their cocktails by the glass and to operate restaurants in conjunction with their spirit-making operations, Hines said.
"Because of the former laws, Ohio is about 15 years behind other states, but we're catching up," he said. "It's a fun community to be part of. It's a group of people who really support and encourage each other."
High Bank offers a varied menu of cocktails, wine and 20 beers on draft as well as its own in-house organic vodka and organic gin.
In its distillery, the partners also are working to produce their own whiskey, but patience is required here as well -- it will take at least two to three years of aging before the drink will be ready to serve.
"Once you have a recipe, the trial-and-error period is over. That's the art of the process," Hines said. "Now you want to be absolutely consistent when you're producing the product. That's the science."
What makes the process fun is the merging of the art and science, he said.
High Bank's whiskey will be a rye-heavy mash bill, Helman said.
"There is a bit of peppery spice flavor on the front and a smooth caramel finish to the taste," he said.
"Our gin has a very citrus-forward, American-style aroma and flavor to it that is very appealing to the palate," Helman said. "It's different from the dry, piney taste you find in a lot of gins."
Along with the drinks, High Bank also offers a full farm-to-table food menu featuring poultry, beef, pork and vegetables provided by local partner producers, he said.
"We've gotten a good response so far to our menu items," Helman said.
"It sounds a little cliched, but we really take pride on focusing on all areas of our operation. The food we serve is just as important to us as the spirits we're creating."
High Bank is one of the first distillers in the area that has been able to incorporate its restaurant "from the ground up in our concept," Hines said. "Other distillers who have added restaurants have had to put them in whatever space they had available."
High Bank has 209 interior seats from which diners can view the distilling operation through a large window.
"We were initially looking for a 5,000- to 8,000-square-foot site, but when this location became available, we jumped at the chance to open here," Hines said. "We have a total of 17,000 square feet of space and our distilling operation takes up about as much space itself as we were originally looking at."
Goodale is "an ideal location" for High Bank, he said.
"There's so much energy and activity going on in and around Goodale with all that's happening at Grandview Yard," Hines said. "We think we'll be able to tap into that."
The restaurant and distillery are open daily. For more information, visit highbankco.com.