5 companies apply to put restaurants in prime Hamilton location

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Stunning aerial view of downtown Hamilton

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Five companies have applied to put restaurants in the former Quarter Barrel Brewery + Pub building at 103 Main St.

Hamilton officials are not releasing the names of the companies, but Listermann Brewing Company, based in the Cincinnati neighborhood of Evanston, confirmed it is one of them.

The building is in a prime Hamilton location: immediately southwest of the High-Main Bridge, with a rooftop overlooking the Great Miami River and downtown Hamilton. Before its renovation by the non-profit CORE (Consortium for Ongoing Reinvestment Efforts) Fund, it had been used for storage, apparently for decades.

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“The CORE Fund has received five formal proposals, all from experienced restaurant and/or brewery operators, and they are in the process currently of evaluating all of those proposals and deciding who to move forward with for next steps,” said Lauren Gersbach, a business development specialist for the city.

Officials are not releasing names of interested companies because they don’t want “to get peoples’ hopes up on certain things,” Gersbach said. “We want to make sure we’re setting up the next operator to be as successful as possible, and have people excited about it.”

“We don’t want to jump the gun before we have an actual announcement,” she said.

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The primary aim is to have a restaurant fill the space, because that would generate more foot traffic for nearby businesses. But because the building already is equipped with beer-making equipment, a restaurant with a micro-brewery would be a bonus.

Officials hope to choose finalists by the end of this week, and then evaluate their proposals after that.

“We will be notifying all of those that have submitted a formal proposal before the end of this week,” Gersbach said. “They’ll be moving forward with interviews and asking for additional information from whether it’s one or three, I’m not sure what the number will be.”

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The CORE Fund owns the property, and has asked Hamilton not to release company names. CORE Fund will be the winning company’s landlord.

Gersbach has said about 30 companies expressed interest in the property and about 20 tours were offered, some repeat visits from the same companies.

Listermann Brewing’s marketing manager, Kristen Ballinger, confirmed her company submitted a proposal. Listermann, with one location near Xavier University, has a beer that celebrated the second birthday of the Cincinnati Zoo’s famous hippo, Fiona, and several beers that have won prestigious awards.

Barrel-aged Chickow! in 2016 won a gold medal and Best in Show at the Festival of Wood and Barrel Aged Beers. In 2014, Nutcase Peanut Butter Porter won a bronze medal at the Great American Beer Festival, among other awards.

Listermann officials were pleased with the kitchen and beer-making equipment in the building, which Quarter Barrel abruptly closed, along with its original Oxford location, on Jan. 3.

Quarter Barrel General Manager Jason Brewer told this media outlet the company produced about 1,800 barrels of beer last year, and would create the same amount at the Hamilton, doubling its production.

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