Intentional is the word that comes to mind when referring to High Bank Distillery and their growth process in Columbus, and it also explains the core beliefs of two men whose friendship evolved and resulted in this successful distillery and restaurant. Jordan Helman and Adam Hines believe in purpose, and as the original founders of High Bank, they admit that every step of their journey has been well thought out and built on an uncompromised approach.
The High Bank story starts with Jordan and Adam’s friendship and joint business dealings between Adam’s business, States of Design, and Jordan’s business, Zest Juice Co. As they began talking about a combined, new business venture featuring whiskey, two new partners were added to the “founding fathers” – Calvin Jones and Jeff Ireland. The four founders were all Columbus residents and very familiar with the current offerings of the local beer and whiskey scene.
The founders were confident that there would be room for their new spirits in the market, so they dedicated their skills to designing a distillery and restaurant that would focus on each ingredient for each specialty that was served, whether alcohol or food. They believed this would set them apart and this intentional approach would end up leading to the inspiration for their name – High Bank!
According to their website, “When Ohio forged plans for the state capital, the area known as Franklinton was a primary consideration due to its close proximity to the water and pre-existing infrastructure. After much consideration, they concluded the risk of flooding was too great. On February 14th, 1812, the state legislature accepted plans to lay out the capital, now known as Columbus, on the High Bank, opposite Franklinton, at the fork of the Scioto and Olentangy rivers. We take the same uncompromised approach when selecting each ingredient to create every plate of food, crafted cocktail, and bottle of High Bank spirits.”
Much like the cautious planning of Columbus’ founding fathers, these gentlemen have been committed to slow, intentional and organic growth. Their ultimate goal is to do this while being devoted to community partnerships from purchasing local coffee to sourcing Amish produce. They are also proud to serve beer options from Columbus neighborhood breweries that additionally offer a circle of support that has continual returns - breweries are some of their best accounts to buy from and sell to.
With a business model that relies on the safety of the “High Bank” through thoughtful and purposeful actions, there is potential for growth and expansion, but again, with an intentional pace. The discovery process began in 2014, they opened the distillery/restaurant in 2018, and they are just this year expanding to a second location in Gahanna after a very successful original location in Grandview fulfilled their expectations. The Gahanna location is slated to open in May.
According to Jordan, “We have so much growth left in the state of Oho, and our goal is to become the most well-known distillery in the state and to put Ohio on the map from a distillery standpoint.” In 2021, they were voted home of the best blended whiskey in America by the San Francisco World Spirits Corporation. The restaurant was also awarded the Best Creative Cocktails in Columbus by 614 Columbest for three years running. With product in 180 of Ohio’s 480 liquor stores, they feel that some of their recent awards will spur continued growth including brand recognition.
Heartland was proud to partner with High Bank recently to guide them through their expansion. “We wanted to get with a smaller bank that valued our business more and believed our story because we want to grow. We need a partner who believes in what we are doing as a business and can see not just the past two years' results, but how we’re trending. We felt that fit,” said Adam. Heartland Bank was the recommendation of several business acquaintances when the guys were looking for a new financial relationship.
If you’ re at our Gahanna location, be sure to continue to 1379 East Johnstown Road and visit High Bank’s new restaurant and distillery on or after May 18th. They have inspired menu options, the Whiskey War lineup, High Bank Vodka and High Bank Statehouse Gin.