Cincinnati lands Beer Hall of Fame

Entrepreneur plans 2006 opening for $22.5 million project

Oct 14, 2004 - Promoters of a national Beer Hall of Fame have chosen a Cincinnati entrepreneur's plan for their multi-purpose beer complex.


In a press release, Beer Hall of Fame Project Manager, Joe Gardenghi, of Leisure Technician stated, "We are excited to be in negotiations with Randall (Herbst) to bring the Beer Hall of Fame to Cincinnati. Vision Implementation Group's proposal and vision is compelling as well as passionate."

Herbst plans to put the hall of Fame in the struggling Tower Place Mall. Herbst declined to say how much money Vision and Leisure have raised to pay for the proposed Beer Hall of Fame to be designed by Cincinnati's FRCH Worldwide Design. But he did say he expects the entire project will cost $22.5 million, including a purchase of Fourth Street's Tower Place Mall.

If Tower Place owners reject the plan, Herbst said he's ready to scout other, undisclosed Fourth Street locations for a September 2006 Beer Hall of Fame opening.

Though details haven't been finalized, he said an initial concept calls for establishing a Nation's Micro Brewery inside the mall that could brew up to 700,000 barrels of beer a year. The Hall of Fame also would include 75,000 square feet anchored by a food court with five to seven restaurants and a 35,000-square-feet space for brewing, cooking and homebrewing instruction.

Herbst stressed that his group would not seek any money or incentives from the city of Cincinnati or Hamilton County, although it might seek money from the state of Ohio. Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce spokesman Ray Buse said he's held brief talks with Herbst, but he said the chamber is "not officially engaged on this."

The city of Covington, Ky., and Cincinnati architect Denny Dellinger were among those seeking to land the Beer Hall of Fame. Covington suggested that Leisure build the Hall of Fame at its Old Bavarian Brewery at 12th Street and Interstate 75, but the city dropped the plan because Leisure's proposal was aimed at private developers and required a half-million dollars in up-front capital and marketing dollars.

Several of the other 12 finalists for the Hall also dropped out of the running after learning of the up-front requirements.

"The joke was it was probably a couple of guys tapping a keg in some garage somewhere looking for somebody to build a big project," said Robin Cooper, Covington's director of intergovernmental affairs. "I think it's probably a little more than that."