WE’RE PROUD TO CALL THE 12,000-SQUARE-FOOT HISTORIC BUILDING AT 424 W. TOWN STREET IN EAST FRANKLINTON HOME. Its huge production floor (which once built elevators and track-systems for newspaper production facilities) is home to our brand brewing facility, churning out 10-15,000 BBLs of beer annually.
The old factory was built in 1920, and bringing this old building up to snuff was an endeavor; countless blood, sweat, and beers were poured into demo and construction from a cast of amazing folks, namely, Compton Construction and Mode Architects.
The brewing operation gets started on our beautiful American designed and manufactured brewhouse from the WM Sprinkman in Wisconsin. Fermentation takes place in one of our eight 80 BBL, five 40 BBL, 60 BBL, or 20 BBL fermentation tanks. The beer finishes up in one of our two 40 BBL or 80 BBL brites. After that, finished beer goes into kegs or heads over to the packaging area for canning. We were the first Columbus brewery to can beer on our own canning line, a semi-automated 5 head Cask line that churns out canned beer at a healthy clip. Since then we’ve upgraded to a new canning line that doubles up the output of that original canning line. From there, beer heads to the cold room, and then either out the back door for distribution around Cent or up front to our onsite taproom.
Free tours of the brewery our available via our taproom on Saturdays at 3pm. No need to buy tickets or RSVP, just arrive at the taproom at about quarter ’til 3.
Land-Grant co-founders, Adam Benner and Walt Keys, graduated from Ohio State University in Columbus in 2006. These college roommates (2 of 14 in the house!) headed different directions after school, with Adam heading to Chicago to work in corporate data analysis and Walt moving to New York for a job in book publishing. The two always dreamed of returning to Columbus to launch something entrepreneurial, and that opportunity presented itself in about 2010 with Adam’s new-found hobby, homebrewing. Adam began homebrewing in the basement of his carriagehouse apartment, and his hobby of brewing his own beer became Walt’s (who’d returned to Ohio and was working as a graphic designer) hobby of creating brands and designing labels for Adam’s latest creations. The idea of what was then called Oval Brewing Was born.
Realizing that the name “Oval” was already being used by an alcohol producer – an Austrian vodka maker, of all things – Adam and Walt changed the name to Land-Grant Brewing Company. “Land-Grant” is a nod to their alma mater’s status as a land-grant university, a result of The Morrill Act of 1862. While their inspiration in choosing “Land-Grant” stemmed from the Act’s goal of providing equal access to higher education for all, there are imperfect parts of our nation’s past that don’t always make the history books. Many of the Federal land given to the States as part of the Act originally belonged to Native Americans and were taken from them in the darker periods of our country’s history. We recognize that – by having the name of Land-Grant – it is important to acknowledge this and our full support of the APLU’s position regarding land acknowledgement and its work toward progress.
With the mission of land-grant universities being one of inclusiveness – Adam and Walt built their foray into the craft beer industry on this foundation. Their goal has always been to create an inclusive craft-beer environment where everyone feels welcome, and to make craft beer more accessible through both education on the art and science of brewing, as well as the commitment to enriching our community – both pillars that define land-grant universities today.
After years of brewing and branding beer as an after-hours hobby, Adam and Walt decided it was time to go pro, as it were. To gauge the viability of their idea for a production craft brewery and taproom in Columbus (at the time there were just 3 operating breweries in town(!)) Adam and Walt launched a successful Kickstarter campaign. Raising the initial $30,000 to begin planning out the brewery in earnest.
False Start in Grandview
After a long search to find a building that suited the needs of their brewery. Things were starting to come together for Land-Grant: a building and lease had been secured in Grandview, architectural plans had been drawn up, and a meeting had been set with the city commission for approval…at which point the landlord backed out, and the search stared anew.
New Home in Franklinton
Nearly a year after getting the boot from Grandview, Land-Grant found its building. The old elevator factory at 424 W. Town in Columbus’ historic Franklinton neighborhood proved to be the perfect location for our dream brewery. Plenty of space to brew a lot of beer, and a central location for the bustling community-oriented taproom we’d always envisioned. All that was left was a ton of hard work, a lot of which Adam and Walt did themselves. The lease was signed on March 5 (Walt’s 30th birthday) and by the end of the summer, we were ready to open the doors.
On October 18th 2014 Land-Grant Brewing Company opened the doors to its taproom for the first time. There were four Land-Grant beers on tap that day: 1862 Ale, Son of a Mudder Brown Ale, Greenskeeper Session IPA, and Stiff-Arm IPA. Things kicked off with a ribbon cutting on the taps and a rousing toast from Q.
Crew SC Partnership
In 2015 we began to establish ourselves within the Columbus Community, and inked a partnership with our home club, Columbus Crew SC. In that first year with the club, Land-Grant released the official Supporter Beer, Glory American Wheat, after inviting fans of the club to the taproom to vote on their favorite beer. We updated the beer in 2019, releasing Massive Juicy Pale Ale at the launch of the season..
Formalized Our Commitment to Community and Sustainability
While our early years were certainly filled with charitable and community focused endeavors (lots of Pelotonia fundraisers, and our vandalism t-shirt initiative) we took the next step to commit ourselves to our neighborhood, city, and state by putting in place formal measures and procedures to maximize our impact on our communities. A big part of that has been our Community Happy Hour initiative, which you can read all about and book yours here.
In step with that community commitment was a move to become a leader in sustainable brewing practices for breweries our size. We brought on Vincent Valentino as our first sustainability manager, who designed and implemented our sustainability projects, launching the Sun-Grant program the following year in 2017 to report on and share our sustainability successes (and failures) so that other breweries and businesses our size might benefit.
John Glenn International Airport Location Opens
In late 2016, our second official taproom location opened in Columbus’ airport. Operated by HMA Host, the airport taproom features the same look, feel, and beer as our Franklinton Taproom. It’s open seven days a week to serve travelers in Concourse B.
LAND-GRANT SERVED AT OHIO STADIUM
In a truly surreal moment for Adam and Walt, Stiff-Arm IPA began being served at the Horseshoe at the kick-off of the 2016 season. 16oz cans followed a couple seasons later, as well as the offering of Skull Session Scarlet Lager.
Ray Ray’s Hogpit Joins the Taproom
Having connected the year prior at our Homage All-American BBQ, Ray Ray’s rolled their smoker down to Franklinton and joined began serving the taproom year-round. Their award winning barbecue is now available Thursday-Sunday at the taproom and beer garden. Check out the menu and read more about food at Land-Grant right here.
Save the Crew
In 2017 ownership announced its plans to move our beloved Columbus Crew SC to Austin, Texas. What followed was one of the largest and most successfull communty movements to retain its team in history. We played host to several Save the Crew Events throughout the process, culminating in the announcement of the Club’s new stadium at the taproom on December 6th, 2018.
Making it’s debut at our first Jeni’s Strawberry Jam, the beer garden came online mid-summer 2018 and has become a Columbus destination on sunny days for beer, live music, and barbecue. We’ve continued to improve the space (with a lot of DIY blood, sweat, and beers) by adding a dedicated tap truck, yard games, a turf recreation space, and miniature golf. Keep an eye out for continued improvements, as we’re always working to beautify the space.
Fifth Anniversary Party
Five years in, we threw our biggest party yet. Anniversaries have always been a special affair at Land-Grant. Full of special beers, music, art, merch, and more. But for #5 we went all out. The Buckeyes won big, and Columbus favorites Saint Seneca closed things out. Here’s to the next five years!
The current home of Land-Grant brewing Company is a former Elevator factory located at 424 W. Town Street in the historic Franklinton neighborhood of Columbus. Built in 1920 as the home to the Capital Lift and Manufacturing Company the building has seen it’s share of transformation in Franklinton from its post at the corner of Town and Lucas. An addition to the building in the 70’s added an office space (and a whole lot of faux wood paneling) to the front of the facility. Beyond elevators, Capital began building track systems for moving giant reams of paper around large-scale printing facilities, and the building remained an active manufacturing facility into the 90’s.
Our brewery renovation began in March of 2014, and involved a full overhaul of the manufacturing facility for our production brewery, and a renovation of the offices to house our taproom. Clearing out nearly 100 years of manufacturing and office ephemera and detritus was no small task, and the demo portion of the build was significant. Once demo was complete, we brought in all new plumbing, electrical and HVAC and poured 5″ slab floor over the entire production facility.
Up front, we gutted the 70’s-chic office space, revealing it’s industrial bones, concrete slab floors, and –most incredibly– the original brick facade with completely intact windows. We painted the old beige stucco on the exterior, and covered the front of the building in barnwood that we reclaimed from an old barn near Marion, Ohio.