For more than 100 years, approximately 280 acres of farmland along North Old State Road in Brown Township have belonged to Nick Sheets’ family. While no longer farmed by the family, Sheets hopes a little repurposing of some of the land will keep it in the family for another century.
Ground broke on Henmick Farm and Brewery in September 2019, with Sheets serving as the general contractor. Work was finally finished this summer, and the brewery opened its doors on July 16. The brewery, which includes a taproom and the production facility, spans more than 11,000 square feet and can accommodate 240 people. Outside, there are approximately eight acres of additional land for guests to explore. According to Sheets, much of the design is based on Sonoma wine country, particularly in the outdoor spaces.
“It’s our reinvention of our family farm,” Sheets said of the brewery. “We own close to 280 acres in Delaware County. We stopped actively farming the land when I was a freshman in high school, and we lease it to a local farmer. It’s always been on my mind. I’m emotionally attached to this place so selling was never in my vocabulary. We wanted to do something else with it, to reinvent it and keep it in my family for another 100 years.”
Sheets said the idea of beginning his own brewery dates back to the first beer he ever enjoyed in college, and after visiting some breweries in Vermont years ago, the ideas for brewing his own beers began pouring in. However, Sheets said so much of life is about timing and circumstances, and after looking at different places in Columbus through the years, he was unable to find the right fit at the right time. Perhaps the lack of timing was, in fact, timely for Sheets as it allowed him to find the ideal scenario combining a dream with his family heritage.
“It was the perfect time, it was the perfect circumstance, and our concept is unique and different out here, so we did it,” Sheets said.
When it comes to the types of beers being brewed at Henmick Farm and Brewery, Sheets said he and head brewer Zack Cline “cast a very wide net” that includes traditional European lagers such as a pilsner and Dunkel. There is also a Kolsch, traditional IPA, a hazy pale ale, and a super pale ale, wheat beers, and sour beers as well. The taproom features a total of 20 taps, 10 or 11 of which are currently being used, leaving room for even more growth. House-brewed hard ciders will also soon be on the menu, and this winter, Henmick will add smaller batches of higher alcohol-by-volume beers such as stouts and porters.
“Our head brewer has knocked every one (of the beers) out of the park so far. And that’s the reason why we hired Zack. We needed to make sure we were out of the gates strong with our offerings,” Sheets said of Cline.
In addition to the vast beer selection, Sheets said Henmick is working with local distilleries to create cocktails that are offered directly on tap for those who visit and are not particularly fond of craft beers.
For those who visit the brewery with an empty stomach, food trucks are on-site every day the taproom is open. Thursdays and Sundays typically feature one food truck, while Fridays and Saturdays might feature anywhere from two to five trucks.
At the moment, there are no distribution plans to market the Henmick products outside of the farm. Sheets said he enjoys the full control he has over the product in-house, and some of that control would be lost in the distribution process. Sheets added that he wants to keep the products exclusive to the farm itself as well to encourage people to see the farm.
“We put so much effort into the details of the space, and we’ve had so many great compliments. So we want them to come up here and enjoy the space and enjoy their drinks here,” Sheets said.
Sheets later said of what separates Henmick from other breweries, “What makes us unique is our setting. What makes us unique is the property, the experience people have. It’s a different venue space. It’s a different brewery space than what you would typically think of a brewery. I think there’s probably a handful like this in Ohio, but there are more of these in New England and on the east coast.”
Although he’s only been up and running for a month, Sheets said he couldn’t be happier with how his vision has evolved into a reality.
“I’ve been blown away with the number of customers and repeat customers we’ve had out,” he said. “In my mind, from a build standpoint and the aesthetics of the pace, it’s everything that I thought it would be … From a customer and response aspect, we’re overwhelmingly happy with the feedback we’ve received.”
Henmick is open on Thursdays and Fridays from 4-10 p.m., on Saturdays from 12-10 p.m., and on Sundays from 12-7 p.m. To learn more about Henmick Farm and Brewery and all it has to offer, visit www.henmick.com or visit its social media pages on Instagram and Facebook.
Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.