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Small-batch distilleries making a comeback across Greater Cincinnati

Before and after Prohibition, there were around 80 distilleries in Over-the-Rhine alone. And just like breweries, distilleries exited the Cincinnati market until recently.

Small batch distilleries are now cropping up all around the city, and the majority of them are focusing on tasting room offerings and local retail sales.
A bill was passed on the state level recently to allow craft distilleries to obtain A1 liquor permits and allow the sale of mixed drinks and food on-site, much like breweries and brewpubs. Changes may be coming to some of Cincinnati's distilleries in the form of craft cocktails available in house, but for now you can find their offerings in area liquor stores and bars as well as in a few of their taprooms.
New Riff, 24 Distillery Way, Newport
Open since May 2014, New Riff has made a name for itself in the world of small-batch distilling. It uses two different stills — a 500-gallon pot still and a hand-operated column still — to create gin, bourbon and rye. Distillery tours are free Thursday-Sunday.

Henry Street Brewery & Distillery, 108 Henry St., Over-the-Rhine
Located in part of the old Christian Moerlein complex, Henry Street will be the first brewery, distillery and winery in the city of Cincinnati since Prohibition. The distillery’s opening date remains to be determined.
Northside Distilling Co., 1326-B Springlawn Ave., Northside
Northside Distilling started distributing its corn whiskey a year ago, but the small-batch distillery was able to double its output in January and now can make 8-12 cases per week. New offerings include bourbon and craft vodka. They opened a tasting room where customers can try samples and purchase liquor to go. Call 513-549-3831 to set up a tour.
OTR Still House/Knox Joseph Distillery, 1820 Central Parkway, Over-the-Rhine
A new venture from the owners of PetWants, the OTR Still House will open in a 117-year-old, 17,000-square-foot warehouse and will produce gin, whiskey and bourbon. The building will also be a venue for live music and entertainment and will be available for rent. It will also serve as warehouse space for PetWants production. An opening date hasn’t been set yet, but keep tabs on the distillery’s Facebook page for more information.
Second Sight Spirits, 301 B Elm St., Ludlow
Started by two Cirque du Soleil alums, Second Sight is all about helping to build community — the distillery often hosts on-site corporate functions and charity events. Known for its rum, Second Sight also launched Villa Hillbillies Moonshine in April. Free tours and tastings are available Thursday-Sunday.
Queen City Whiskey a.k.a. George Remus
Named after George Remus, King of Bootleggers, the whiskey is distilled locally and has been introduced to liquor stores and select bars throughout the region. They’ve even partnered with local breweries to create unique beer styles with bourbon characteristics.
Woodstone Creek, 4712 Vine St., St. Bernard
Known as Ohio’s first microdistillery, Woodstone Creek recently moved from a shared space with Listermann Brewing to its own location. Liquor offerings include Barrelhouse, Cincinnati Vodka, Murray Cask Peated Single Malt Whisky and Ridge Runner 5-Grain. The tasting room is open 2-7 p.m. Saturdays if you’re interested in a sample or a tour.

Towne Properties adding second phase to DeSales Flats project

A new $13.5 million apartment project is in the works for Evanston. Towne Properties is planning Phase II of DeSales Flats at the northwest corner of Lincoln and Woodburn avenues next to the original DeSales Flats, which is actually located in East Walnut Hills.
The project will yield 92 market-rate units: 44 one-bedroom apartments, averaging about 740 square feet; 36 one-bedroom-with-den apartments, averaging about 825 square feet; eight two-bedroom apartments, averaging about 1,115 square feet; and four two-bedroom-plus-den units, averaging 1,215 square feet.
All apartments will have high-speed WiFi, full-sized stacked washer and dryer, quartz countertops and soaking tubs in the bathrooms. Towne is also seeking LEED Gold certification on the development, which would be its first building with that LEED level. Rent hasn’t been set yet but will be similar to rates at DeSales Flats.
DeSales Flats Phase II will also have a 119-space parking lot with bicycle parking and an electric car charging station. Other community amenities include a clubroom with fireplace, full kitchen and coffee bar, fitness center, outdoor saltwater pool with sundeck, outdoor firepit and outdoor lounge area with a water feature.
Construction is slated to being this summer, with units available as soon as spring or early summer 2017.

Check out the project's layout here.

10th annual Ride Cincinnati raises money for breast cancer research

Ride Cincinnati is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, and the June 12 event promises to be the best yet, with a number of updates to celebrate. To date, Ride Cincinnati has raised more than $2 million for breast cancer research at the Barrett Cancer Institute at the UC Cancer Institute.
The event includes a number of different routes: 63-, 45-, 26- and 18-mile routes along Route 8 in Northern Kentucky and an 8- and 16-mile route on a closed-road loop course along Eastern Avenue in Cincinnati. All routes begin at Sawyer Point, and helmets are mandatory.
New this year is a 3-mile Fun Walk, a non-competitive walk for friends and family who aren’t avid riders but who want to support the cause. The course takes walkers around Yeatman’s Cove into Friendship Park, ending at an after-party where Fifty West will be selling its beer.
“Fifty West is a very passionate support of local cyclists, and with the opening of its new cyclery across from the brewery it’s a natural partnership,” says Allison Brinkman Schroeder, spokesperson for Ride Cincinnati.
There will also be honor miles along the bike routes to celebrate the strength and story of those who have been impacted by breast cancer. Each sponsored mile is a $500 donation and includes a large photo of the honoree and brief background information about his/her fight with cancer. Friends, family and coworkers are encouraged to meet at that mile to celebrate their honoree and cheer on riders. If you’re interested in an honor mile, contact Kathryn Macke at Kathryn.braun@gmail.com.
Like last year, Ride Cincinnati has partnered with Cincy Red Bike. A day pass for Red Bike on race day is $8; if you email randy.evans@cincyredbike.org right after the event stating that you participated, any overage fee will be waived. Bikes are available on a first-come, first-served basis — the nearest stations are at Sawyer Point, Fountain Square and the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.
Ride Cincinnati starts at 6:30 a.m. June 12 with the 63-mile ride, and riders can sign up online until June 10 and can register in-person that morning. The cost is currently $40 for adult bikers, $30 for adult walkers and $15 for kids 12 and under.

Cincinnati State continues beer industry class as local craft tradition grows

Last fall, Cincinnati State added a beer brewing industry class to its curriculum, which it will offer again this coming school year due to demand. The class is geared toward those who are interested in pursuing a job in the region’s growing craft beer industry.
BREW 100 teaches students the brewing process and the different styles of beer. The class tours a brewery and works with that brewery to develop a class beer — in the fall, the class will team up with Urban Artifact in Northside. Urban Artifact will then brew the beer and tap it in December during the last week of the semester.
Last fall, two sections of BREW 100 worked with Rhinegeist and Christian Moerlein. The Rhinegeist class beer was an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie stout called Gramma, and the Moerlein class beer was a black IPA called Brewschool 100 or Curve Ball. This past spring, the class worked with MadTree on a strawberry rhubarb American Hefeweizen, which will be brewed soon and should be tapped in July.
Cincy State is also offering BREW 160, or the Sensory Evaluation of Beer, for the second time. Jeremy Roza, assistant quality assurance manager at the Boston Beer Company in Cincinnati, will teach the class.
The college is currently seeking approval from the Ohio Department of Higher Education to offer a certificate program in Brewing Sales and Marketing, which would start this fall, as well as an associate degree in Brewing Science.
Registration is currently open for the 2016-17 academic year, and students can sign up for classes online. BREW 100 is also available for non-degree seeking students but is not intended for hobbyists or homebrewers.

Cincy Stories launches new community-building project through storytelling

Cincy Stories storytelling producers are launching a multi-media website project, Street Stories, to feature stories from each of Cincinnati’s 52 neighborhoods, starting in Walnut Hills in partnership with Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation and LISC.
“When Cincy Stories started, our plan was to build community through story, which has given us room to grow and evolve and innovate in ways we didn’t originally anticipate,” founder Shawn Braley says.
Cincy Stories originated as a series of live events in order to get people together to share stories. As it has grown, Braley has been cataloging stories of the city in short, documentary-style segments for the website. Cincy Stories also recently launched a podcast, and now Street Stories will expand the program’s reach even further.
“We’re hoping that we can gather more stories from more people, especially those who maybe aren’t going to find us but still have stories to share,” Braley says. “We see this as continuing to get our hands dirtier, digging deeper into the exploration of how story and community are intricately connected.”
The Walnut Hills portion of Street Stories will feature an interactive Story Gallery at 961 E. McMillan St. It will be an art gallery for storytelling, complete with video gallery, timeline of the history of Walnut Hills and a place where people can get together and share stories.
The gallery is being made possible through a LISC placemaking grant, and Model Group is providing the gallery space.
The Story Gallery is a way for Cincy Stories to engage the community on the ground and invite them into the space for events and to share stories.
Cincy Stories will capture Walnut Hills stories over the next few months, and then in July there will be a party to unveil the website. The next neighborhood hasn’t been announced yet, but it needs to be a partnership between Cincy Stories and the community.
Braley says it made sense to team up with the Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation, which is working to connect people and build a diverse, inclusive and vibrant community, and doing it creatively.
“We have this crazy notion that if we all just shared our stories, any tension or wall or misconception that hinders the community would fall, and empathy and understanding would be built in its place,” he says.
The gallery will open on June 1, with regular hours of 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. There will be a Street Stories gallery opening party from 6-10 p.m. on June 10.

Hellmann Creative Center receives grant for outdoor community space

The National Endowment for the Arts recently announced more than $82 million in grants awarded to help fund local arts projects and partnerships, and three Cincinnati area organizations, including the Center for Great Neighborhoods, received a total of $45,000.
The Center received $10,000 to help design the public space outside of the Hellmann Creative Center, a new creative placemaking hub in Covington. Hellmann Creative Commons will be a gathering space for the community that will further help tie the arts and the neighborhood together.
Not only did the Center preserve and repurpose a vacant building, but it’s also working to make the arts a more prominent part of the conversation in Northern Kentucky. Covington is a city of makers, which the Center wants is celebrating through business mentoring and a May 21 public event.
The Hellman Center grant will go toward the first phase of the project, which includes gathering community input and working with design professionals. Once fully funded, Hellmann Creative Commons will feature sculptures designed and installed by local artists from a new apprenticeship program that will collaborate with established artists doing a one-month residency in Covington.
Work on the Hellmann Creative Center is to be completed this summer. Stay tuned the Center for Greater Neighborhoods’ Facebook page for ways you can give your input into the design of the outdoor space.

Adaptive reuse development helps promote bicycle-centered lifestyle in Pendleton

With the addition of bicycle lanes around the city, ride services like Lyft and Uber and the coming streetcar, more people are turning in their car keys for bike helmets. Many local businesses are jumping on board too and are teaming up with organizations like ArtWorks to help design bike racks.
A new Pendleton apartment building — designed, developed and rehabilitated by BiLT Architects — is the first to be named an official “Bicycle Friendly Destination” by Queen City Bike. Located at 512 E. 12th St., Abigail@512e12 has a number of amenities that make it bicycle-friendly.
Dedicated bicycle lockers are available for tenants, and there is also a fully outfitted bicycle workstation complete with bicycle stand, pump and repair tools. Tenants can also purchase a membership to Cincy Red Bike for half price.
Abigail@512e12 is a member of Queen City Red Bike, and tenants can enjoy the organization’s membership benefits as well.
There are no dedicated on-street parking spots for tenants, which helps promote a more bicycle-centered lifestyle.
The seven one-bedroom apartments began pre-leasing in April and should be move-in ready within a few weeks. Rent ranges from $840 to $880 per month, or $1.50-$1.60 per square foot.

Outdoor bar and beer garden to be first along Central Parkway bike lane

Queen City Radio will open this summer in the former automotive service and repair shop at the corner of Central Parkway and West 12th Street. But it’s not a radio station — it’s an outdoor beer garden.
The auto body shop also installed car and satellite radio systems, and the new QCR will celebrate that history by keeping the name.  
Louisa Reckman and Gabriel Deutsch, her brother and business partner, think another outdoor dining and drinking space in Over-the-Rhine will do well, and they want to pay homage to their German heritage.
“Both Gabriel and I have dual citizenship, and I lived in Germany for over 12 years,” Reckman says. “I actually had my first sip of beer in a Dusseldorf beer garden.”
Environmental remediation on the property began last June, and historic and building permits were issued in March. Reckman and Deutsch have been working on the building ever since.
QCR will feature gas fire pits, wooden tables and benches, lots of greenery and garage doors that will open when the weather permits. Reckman says it will be a place to tailgate or watch a game as well as enjoy a pint with friends, family, coworkers and pets.
“We hope to bring a sense of community and celebrate Cincinnati’s beer culture while restoring a local landmark,” she says.
QCR also plans to dedicate one day each week to help promote and support local charities, nonprofits and other causes. It will also be the only bar/beer garden located directly on the Central Parkway protected bike lane.
“I hope we are an integral oasis and rest stop for the local bicycling community as well,” Reckman says.
As for the menu, there will be a rotating list of local, regional and national best-selling beers as well as a full bar with wine, cocktails and boozy slushies. Beers will include 50 West, Blank Slate, Braxton Brewing, Listermann’s, MadTree, Moerlein, Rhinegeist, Rivertown and Taft’s Ale House as well as national brands.
Beer and wine will also be available to go, and QCR is also working with 53T Courier to offer a beer and wine delivery service.
Keep tabs on QCR’s Facebook page for updates.

Listermann partnering with Renegade Street Eats for permanent cafe within brewery

Renegade Street Eats has been rolling up to food truck rallies, festivals and other events across Cincinnati since 2014. Later this year, owner Kris Buening plans to open a brick-and-mortar cafe in the newly renovated Listermann Brewing across from Xavier University.
“When I started my truck, this wasn’t something I thought I would want to do,” Buening says. “I didn’t want to worry about attracting enough customers in a brick-and-mortar space, and being mobile means that I can go where the hungry people are.”
Renegade has partnered with Listermann for about one and a half years now for Wing Night on Thursdays, as well as Xavier basketball pre-games and festivals. When Listermann approached Buening about possibly having a kitchen in its taproom, she couldn’t pass it up.
The numbers work for both parties — having food keeps taproom visitors around longer, and the additional customers drum up more profit for Buening. With the added kitchen space, she plans to keep operating the food truck and using the kitchen for prep and storage space.
The menu will be much the same as on the truck, but where the truck can carry just four to five items per day, the taproom cafe will be much larger. Customer favorites like wings and the gyro burger will be there, as well as a number of new items. Buening plans to offer snack-type items too, plus more options for dinner. She also wants to have special menus for events like beer dinners and collaborations with other food trucks.
“I hope to bring another option for lunch eventually and dinner that isn’t a chain, with scratch-made food from quality ingredients,” Buening says.
There isn’t a concrete opening date yet, but Buening is aiming for anywhere between June and September. Plans are still being drawn up, and permits have been applied for.

As soon as the space is remodeled and inspected, Renegade will open with limited hours and then expand them once everything is established.

Panino food truck owner opening restaurant in OTR

Another food truck owner is adding the title of “restaurant owner” to his resume. Nino Loreto, who started serving charcuterie and artisanal sandwiches to Cincinnatians in 2013, plans to open a brick-and-mortar location for Panino in the Union Hall facility at 1315 Vine St. in Over-the-Rhine.
Loreto is committed to sourcing meat and produce locally, and his menu will feature handmade, cured meats. His food truck has had a presence at Taste of Cincinnati for the past two years and has also appeared at a number of events around the city.  
The casual deli/restaurant will feature a meat counter serving made-on-site salami and charcuterie. The menu will be small, with the option to dine at Panino’s patio or take it to go. There will also be a bar and dining room that will be open for dinner. That menu will include wine and craft beer as well as charcuterie plates, crostinis, bruschetta, paninis and a small selection of entrees.
Loreto hasn’t announced an opening date for Panino yet, since once the meat processing facility is set up a number of the meats will take several months to cure.

Covington event to give the public a look into "maker" culture May 21

The Center for Great Neighborhoods is hosting a “meet the makers” event in Covington’s Orchard Park from 1 to 4 p.m. May 21. The event will also serve as a launch party for Westside Makers, who are also releasing an independently published book, Westside Makers.
Over the past four months, Calcagno Cullen has interviewed and photographed about 30 local makers for his book, which includes neighborhood recipes, designs and instructions from Westside Makers as well as photos and portraits of those entrepreneurs.
The event calls for all residents who consider themselves makers to move their practices outdoors in order to interact with visitors and each other. Orchard Park will serve as home base for the event, but there will also be a map of the neighborhood so the public can tour the Westside and meet makers in their homes and studios as well.
Participants include DC Sonix, Gutierrez Deli, Lil’s Bagels, Pique, Skool Aid, Wunderbar, Yogi and the Farmer and more. Keep tabs on the event's Facebook page for more information.

The Center for Great Neighborhoods has been hosting a six-month small business training program for local makers, including some of those participating on May 21.

Entrepreneur plans to open deli/retail storefront in Walnut Hills

Gary Leybman, a trained chef, has been smoking meat and pickling vegetables for years. In 2013, his hobby grew into Smoky Bones, all-natural beef femur bones that are slow-smoked for dog treats. That business evolved into The Pickled Pig, which specializes in smoked meats, pickles, fermented vegetables and the smoked dog bones.
For the past few years, Leybman has been selling these items at a number of retail locations and farmers markets in the area. Leybman and his wife Libby recently purchased the building at 645 McMillan St. in Walnut Hills, and they plan to open a deli/retail location for The Pickled Pig within the year.
“It’s an up-and-coming neighborhood and due to its location is a great fit for us,” he says.
Leybman recently moved The Pickled Pig into the Northern Kentucky Incubator Kitchen. He had been utilizing a restaurant’s kitchen, but the building was recently sold, so he had to find a new location. Once his own space is up and running, The Pickled Pig won’t have to move around.
The 1,300-square-foot building will have a deli counter where everything will be made from scratch. Leybman plans to focus on smoked pork and chicken, which can be served on locally made breads. There will also be space for The Pickled Pig’s fermented Napa kimchee, carrot kimchee, caraway kraut, dill kraut, sour pickles, kimchee pickles, garlic beets, Georgian cabbage and pickled cauliflower.
“Even with the storefront, I would love to still have a presence at the farmers markets,” Leybman says. “It’s great to be in the community and getting the word out about our business.”
In the back of the building is a patio, which will house Leybman’s smoker. He plans to set up picnic tables and have an outdoor seating area to give the building a sense of place and atmosphere.

Stay tuned to The Pickled Pig's Facebook page for future announcements.

Kirby School Apartments to host open house for former students & teachers, prospective tenants

Built in 1910, Kirby Road School served as a Cincinnati Public School until 2012. CPS sold the facility to Bloomfield/Schon+Partners, which is redeveloping the 50,000-square-foot building into Kirby School Apartments.
The project will yield 40 units, a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments. The units range from 560 to 2,000 square feet, ranging in price from $680 to $1,400 per month.
Amenities include exposed ductwork, high-end slate kitchen appliances, granite countertops, wood cabinetry, washers/dryers and high ceilings. As the building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Bloomfield/Schon is working to preserve much of its character, including the hardwood floors, Rookwood fountains, cabinets and chalkboards.
Landscaping around the building will remain part of the historic features, with open green space instead of a courtyard.
A 60-space parking lot behind the building will be gated and will allow for off-street parking for residents. All of the outside entrances to the building are accessible from the parking lot.
Three studio apartments are located in the old library, which is lofted above the third floor, and three lofts are in the school’s former gymnasium. They each have 22-foot ceilings, and two of them have 1.5 bathrooms.  
Kirby School will host a public open house 4-7 p.m. June 1. The tour is meant to give the neighborhood a peek at what’s been going on and attract potential residents as well as bring back former students and teachers.

Former veterinarian switches careers to open online bakery

Ryan Carneson, a former veterinarian, moved with his family to the U.S. from South Africa on a medical visa. While living in Los Angeles, Carneson decided to switch careers and attended the Art Institute of California, where he graduated with honors with an Associate Science Degree in Baking and Pastry.
“I’ve enjoyed both of my careers very much,” Carneson says. “I loved being around animals and working with them, but pastry gives me a chance to express my artistic side. I have the freedom to create and design beautiful things. I love taking the raw ingredients and turning them into something beautiful.”
Carneson grew up helping his mother in the kitchen, but culinary wasn’t really an option for him in South Africa. But once in the U.S., he had the chance to start his culinary education and he began in savory and then moved to pastry.
The Carnesons relocated to Cincinnati in 2015 to be near Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center for their son’s medical treatments. Carneson decided that he wanted to establish himself in the community and decided to start his own business, Indulgence by Ryan.
The online bakery is operated by Carneson and his wife Lydia and specializes in custom cakes, cupcakes, cookies, desserts and a variety of chocolate creations. Carneson’s favorite things to make are chocolate eclairs and children’s cakes.
Carneson says that in the future he’d love to open a brick-and-mortar bakery that features all types of baked goods, including homemade breads. It might be a sit-down coffee bar, where customers can come in and order a coffee and enjoy a pastry too.
There isn’t a timeline in mind, but Carneson says maybe early next year, as they’re still getting their young family settled in Cincinnati.

Five Points Alley mural pays homage to Walnut Hills

Five Points Alley in Walnut Hills has undergone a major facelift over the past year. The area was resurfaced with a stable, pervious aggregate, and electricity and lighting were installed. It hosts the Five Points Alley Biergarten, it will soon be the home of Gomez Salsa and it’s the site of a new mural from BLDG.
The mural, titled Wind!, portrays chaste and stoic faces of Walnut Hills residents that over time are chipped away by wind to reveal the windblown faces of the same residents. BLDG knew of a similar project by local photographer Jon Bob; designers blew it up and created a larger-than-life project that’s now installed on the walls of Five Points Alley.
Wind! is a reminder to look underneath what is readily apparent in order to find the bright, playful and whimsical potential underneath,” says Sarah Dotter, events and public outreach coordinator for Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation.
Before its redevelopment, Five Points Alley was a forgotten space that has been reclaimed and rejuvenated by Walnut Hills.
“Under all of the litter, brush, illegal dumping and criminal activity was a space waiting to become a place,” Dotter says.
More art will be coming to Five Points Alley in the next few months. BLDG plans to paint a large mural on the side of Gomez Salsa, and this summer ArtWorks will paint the last of its five wayfinding murals (designed by international artists and installed by BLDG) on the side of the Race Refrigeration building, which faces downtown.
The mural will be unveiled May 5 during the Cinco at Cinco at Cinco event at Five Points Alley. There will be tacos and turtles from Gomez Salsa, Rhinegeist and Urban Artifact beer for sale and live music by Mambo Combo from 5 to 9 p.m. The Walnut Hills qualifier of Supersize Jenga for the Cincinnati Neighborhood Games will also take place during the event.
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