We’ve been working really hard the last three months. Really hard.
Today, we debut a new menu. That’s the source for most of our planning effort this year, but we also did one more thing. We changed our name.
So what are we up to here? Everybody knows us as Barley’s Smokehouse & Brewpub. Why mess with that? The change wasn’t done off-handedly. A great deal of thought and discussion went into the decision.
To clarify, I created and co-founded Barley’s Brewing Company downtown, in 1992. The only craft beer in this town at that time was Columbus Brewing Company, solely distributing, and Hoster Brewing Company, a brewpub. I have a bunch of great memories from my more than 20 years with them. Them. Still doesn’t sound right.
In 1997, I also created and co-founded Barley’s Smokehouse & Brewpub. Exactly a year after we opened, my partner and I shut the doors. For a variety of reasons (that I’ll save for my book,) it didn’t work. My partner in the Smokehouse left, though maintaining her stake in downtown.
My dear wife, Saint Joan and I completely re-worked the Smokehouse and reopened three months later. As we sometimes say around here, we opened in 1997, but we established in 1998.
With a lot of work, and a lot of help from a great staff over the years, the Smokehouse not only rose from the ashes, but has risen to institution status in CBus.
Just over a year ago, I sold my stake in Barley’s downtown to my partner. The sale was entirely at my prompting. (I wouldn’t want conspiracy theorists to get the idea that I was pushed out.)
Before the sale, I was involved in both locations. After more than 20 years, just a little over a year ago, I was involved exclusively at the Smokehouse.
No common ownership between the two locations was a minor reason for the name change. The much larger reason for the change is that there is a lot of confusion between the two places. The main reason is that both use Barley’s in their names.
While we have the legal right to keep “Barley’s” in our name at the Smokehouse, it’s become more apparent as time goes by that there’s confusion within the community using “Barley’s” interchangeably for both locations. We’ve had people show up to the Smokehouse to meet someone who’s waiting for them downtown. If you look on Untapped, you’ll see beers that are only brewed at the Smokehouse represented as being brewed downtown. And on and on.
So we’ve started the process of changing our name: Smokehouse Brewing Company.
Now when someone tells you they’re going to Barley’s, you know they’re going downtown. Of course, we’d be shocked if you didn’t respond, “Well, I’m going to the ‘House.” (insert smiley face here.)
We’re less excited about our name change, which really isn’t a tectonic shift, than we are about our new menu. Next time I come up for air, I’ll post about what we’re doing on that front. No, I won’t bore you with describing new menu items. Instead, I’ll fill you in on what we did, and what you can expect in the future.
If you have any questions, just let us know. We’re here for you.