Developer Wil Schulze picks former Hoster brewer Victor Ecimovich III to lead Edison's brewhouse.
Business owner, developer and professional engineer Wil Schulze is in the energy business. So when it was time to name the 5,000-square-foot brewery and beer garden he’s building in Gahanna, paying homage to the inventor Thomas Alva Edison was a no-brainer.
Edison Brewing, located at 785 Science Blvd., is part of a $6 million multi-use project being developed by Schulze’s company Franklin Peak LLC. The site sits atop one of the highest points in Franklin County, with sunset-facing views of Columbus’ skyline, and lies just behind the former Golf Depot, which closed in January after the passing of its owner Barry Fromm. In late May, The Golf Depot reopened under new management as The City View Golf Center.
“You kind of have this relaxed feeling of ‘I’m in the city, but I’m not in the city.’ Within a few minutes you’re right on the interstate and going wherever you need to go,” Schulze says about what attracted him to the location.
Before Schulze can relax and enjoy the sunset from Edison’s 125-seat beer garden, his priority is completing the 69,000-square-foot office and event space adjacent to the brewery. Once complete, his two Gahanna-based companies, IJUS and SpidaWeb Software, will move into three floors of the new building; on the fourth floor will be an event space with sweeping views looking west. Grandview-based Ford & Associates Architects are the design firm on the project.
Schulze has hired the longtime Columbus brewer Victor Ecimovich III, to operate Edison’s copper, 10-barrel brewhouse. Ecimovich is best known as the head brewer at Columbus’ bygone Hoster Brewing, and the Chicago native was Goose Island Beer Co.’s first brewmaster during its infancy. Ecimovich attended Chicago’s Siebel Institute, which has been training brewmasters since 1868.
“I’m real excited to brew on it,” Ecimovich says. “It’ll look like something out of Germany.
“Me and Wil are both real partial to lagers, European-style lagers; that will be something we’ll concentrate on, but we won’t do those exclusively. We’ll also do different types of ales and German wheat beers and stuff like that,” Ecimovich says.
When asked whether he plans to brew IPAs, Ecimovich doesn’t hesitate. “I’m so done with IPA. We’ll do ales. I prefer more of a British-style for the ales. I don’t know that we’ll try to compete with all those crazy, hoppy beers, you know. There’s enough of those out there,” he says.
Ecimovich and Schulze say they don’t plan to compete for shelf space either by canning, bottling or kegging Edison beers. “The concept is to keep it simple,” Schulze says.
“That whole market is so tough right now: Trying to get taps or trying to get shelf space, because there’s so many beers out there,” Ecimovich says. “I’m just fine with that.”
Ecimovich moved to Columbus in 1994 to work at Hoster Brewing in the Brewery District. Hoster, which was founded in 1836, became known for its award-winning signature brew, Gold Top. After Hoster closed in 2001, Ecimovich continued to contract brew the beer around the Midwest. For years, there’s been talk of reviving Gold Top, and in 2018 Hoster reached an agreement with Actual Brewing Co. to bring back the famed lager with Ecimovich overseeing production. Then, Actual closed early this year after its founder, Fred Lee, was accused of sexual assault and the company was liquidated.
With Ecimovich joining Edison, questions about Gold Top’s fate remain. Will it be revived under Edison? Gold Top is not coming back under Edison, he says. Well, not exactly.
“Gold Top is a Dortmuder style lager, and I don’t see any reason why we wouldn’t make a Dortmunder-style lager,” Ecimovich says.
Edison, which Schulze hopes to open in time for Oktoberfest, will feature a 3,000-square-foot interior with timber frames and 12 taps. (And, yes, Edison bulbs.) Ecimovich says he expects to offer six to eight house beers as well as a few guest beers and possibly nitro coffee or local mead.
While there will be no kitchen at Edison, food trucks are likely. There may also be an arrangement with the restaurant housed in the new City View Golf Center. The City View driving range is currently open, but the restaurant, bar and golf course won’t be open until later this summer.