Beer and wine startup and hybrid retail bar coming to The Gantry in Northside

The options are often overwhelming at specialty beer and liquor stores. If a customer doesn’t know what they’re looking for, they tend to settle for something they’re familiar with. Nick Belleman and Jason Parnes are hoping to alleviate some of the stress associated with these decisions with their new startup, Higher Gravity.
“We’re really excited about this opportunity, and we feel that Higher Gravity fits in well with other businesses in Northside,” Parnes says. “There are places popping up in the neighborhood that aren’t corporate brands but local people who are starting their first thing, and that’s what we’re doing too.”
Belleman and Parnes are accountants by trade — they’ve traveled all over the world for work and have tried different beers everywhere they’ve been. About four years ago, Parnes started dabbling in homebrewing. Their love for different beers and learning different aspects of the craft beer industry are what lead them to start Higher Gravity. 
The craft beer and wine startup will open in May next to Melt’s new location in The Gantry. The 2,214-square-foot space will have 14 rotating taps designated for craft beer, 700 different beers and 200 different wines that will be available to enjoy in store or to take home. Customers will be able to create their own six packs or purchase 22-oz. crowlers or growlers of beer.
A minimal corking and capping fee will apply to all bottled or canned products enjoyed in store, but Parnes says that those items will still cost less per glass than going to a typical bar.
Higher Gravity will have a heavy focus on educating customers about what they’re drinking. The educational program is still in the works, but there will be iPads around the store so customers can research what they’re looking at.
“We want the consumer to understand the art behind what they’re drinking,” Belleman says. “There are reasons why special glasses are used and what flavors you’re tasting, and I think understanding that brings a new level of enjoyment.”
Although Belleman and Parnes are going to be educating others about beer and wine, they don’t claim to know everything.
“We’ll be learning right along with our customers, which is what’s really cool,” Parnes says.
When customers walk into the space, they will be drawn toward the white bar. A beer cooler will hold more popular, everyday beers, while the more specialty brews will be toward the front of the store. Higher Gravity isn’t a sports bar, but three big screen TVs will show big games and will also be used for educating customers.
Higher Gravity won’t have a kitchen, but small snacks will be available for purchase. Customers will also be encouraged to place orders from nearby restaurants.

Read more articles by Caitlin Koenig.

Caitlin Koenig is a Cincinnati transplant and 2012 grad of the School of Journalism at the University of Missouri. She's the department editor for Soapbox Media and currently lives in Northside with her husband, Andrew, and their three furry children. Follow Caitlin on Twitter at @caite_13.