Jackie O's On Fourth beer store opens in downtown Columbus

Patrick Cooley
The Columbus Dispatch
Employees Rachael Bitzer (center) and John Sweeney stock a refrigerator with beer while working at the Jackie O's On Fourth beer store at 171 N. Fourth St. in Columbus. The store, which belongs to Athens-based Jackie O's Pub & Brewery, opened for curbside pickup Nov. 24.

Jackie O’s Pub & Brewery plans to open a taproom in Columbus, but the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has put those arrangements on hold, owner Art Oestrike said.

The Athens-based brewery still is expanding into central Ohio, but it will begin with a beer store that sells the brewery’s popular concoctions for curbside pickup.

Half-growler cans of beer are available at the Jackie O's On Fourth beer store at 171 N. Fourth St. in Columbus.

“Having the ability to do some commerce (in) Columbus at this time is something that we really want to do,” Oestrike said.

The Jackie O's On Fourth beer store, 171 N Fourth St., opened Nov. 24 in part of the space that once was home to the Elevator Brewing Co. warehouse and taproom at 165 N. Fourth St. in downtown Columbus. That space went up for sale over the summer when Elevator announced that it would close. Elevator owner Dick Stevens, 81, cited his age and low taproom sales when asked about his decision to shutter the venerable brewery.

Jackie O’s long has had plans to open in central Ohio, Oestrike said.

“Columbus has been our best market since day one,” he said.

The brewery jumped at the opportunity to move into the building that once housed Elevator’s taproom, but with coronavirus cases on the rise, Oestrike said, it was best to take a piecemeal approach toward opening a taproom.

“We have pretty grand plans for this location," he said.

The Jackie O's On Fourth beer store at 171 N. Fourth St. in Columbus opened for curbside pickup Nov. 24.

Oestrike expects to have a Columbus operation similar to the Athens pub and brewery within two years.

But the brewery has no desire to contribute to the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, he said.

“We don't want to make the pandemic any worse than it already is,” Oestrike said. “Doing a curbside pickup beer store in November of 2020 seems a lot better than the alternative.”

Most of the beers that Jackie O’s makes in Athens will be available at the Columbus store, along with some merchandise. And the brewery, which sells baked goods in Athens, eventually could sell baked goods in Columbus.

The brewery’s two Athens locations are offering limited service. One is closed to dine-in customers, and the other is seating patrons by reservation only.

pcooley@dispatch.com

@PatrickACooley