As the story goes
Andrew Arthur Oestrike (Art) went to Ohio University as an undergraduate and again as a graduate student after teaching English overseas in South Korea. Art’s entrepreneurial career was born when he and his best friend, Lenny Meyer, decided to buy Bagel Street Deli in Athens, Ohio in 2003. Art met Brad Clark in 2005 over one of Brad’s home brewed beers and the idea of purchasing O’Hooley’s, a 90’s era brewpub where Brad had worked, began.
Later in 2005, Art Oestrike purchased O’Hooley’s Irish Pub. Shortly before, Jackie, his mother, was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer. Jackie Oestrike passed away in June of 2006 but not before finding out that Art had plans to change the name “O’Hooley’s” to “Jackie O’s.” Her reaction was classic, “A bar?!” Art’s reply rings very true today. “It's going to be so much more than a f*@%ing bar, Mom.”
In January of 2007, the name of O’Hooley’s officially changed to Jackie O’s. The original Brewpub became a mainstay for the community of Athens and continued to grow in business and popularity by focusing on locally inspired and produced items while also looking to the future. A few examples would include becoming one of the first facilities in the State of Ohio to go non-smoking in order to bring about awareness to lung cancer research, making beer that is ONLY available in Athens and started the creation of some of the earliest barrel aging and sour programs and committing to use locally inspired products whenever possible.
In response to losing their mom, Art’s siblings, Brian and Katie, set out on a journey to raise awareness to Lungevity by traveling to Tibet on a quest to climb Mt. Everest. On May 23, 2007, Brian and close family friend, Justin Hewitt, summitted Mt. Everest, aka Chomolungma in Mandarin. For more details, visit http://climbforcancer.blogspot.com/.
Throughout 2006-2009, Jackie O’s Brewpub continued to focus on creating the best beer offerings available, hosting live music, and serving locally-inspired gastropub food. If anyone has visited that space, you would understand why folks do not build breweries in this fashion today!
Throughout 2008, a bar/restaurant space next door to the Brewpub fell on tough times due to the recession. In mid-2009, Jackie O’s began renting that space and made some relatively simple renovations to create what is now the Public House Restaurant. The Public House’s Opening Night featured our good friends from Papadosio for a kick ass party in September of 2009. The addition of the Public House allowed for vast improvements within our kitchen, including an expanded menu and also allowed us to grow from 400 to over 800 barrels of beer (which were still only available within our walls and a few other locations in Athens).
As a university town, thousands of alumni would visit Athens and Jackie O’s throughout the year and especially on “big” weekends such as Homecoming. The desire for Jackie O’s mainstays such as Mystic Mama and Razz Wheat was a pretty consistent topic of conversation and helped push the need for a production facility. Athens is not exactly a hotbed of industrial activity, but after attending a short course at Siebel, Art and Brad selected a building on the East side of town that was originally built for cheese production.
Just a mile from our two uptown locations, the Taproom & Production Brewery opened in February, 2013. This facility provided the Jackie O’s team the room to play and think big, which included an arsenal of barrels! From rum and bourbon, to sherry and tequila barrels, the Jackie O’s team has been skillfully aging specialty beers since the doors opened and expanded this endeavor in this new space. Equipped with 16 taps, the Taproom was now offering our patrons beers straight from the source!
Life tends to throw us curve balls from time to time. In November of 2014, a tragic fire hit Uptown Athens. Encompassing six buildings in total, the fire not only put a lot of things in perspective, but it also changed the lives for many people who worked at the Jackie O’s Uptown location. The kitchen was badly damaged, which completely changed the way the Public House was utilized at that time.
After a long road to recovery, the Public House reopened with a sexy new draft system featuring 30 taps, a newly designed kitchen and a dedicated bake shop space. Jackie O’s bakery was established in 2008, and the fire nearly ended it. With the help of ACEnet, we were able to keep producing all of the bread products used on our menus. The ability to design a kitchen with a bakery in mind has truly helped move the bakeshop forward to this day.
Jackie O’s five-year business plan was completed in a mere 18 months thanks to our partnership with Cavalier Distributing in Blue Ash, Ohio that started after our swing at self-distribution. Because of this, we added a 10,000 square foot expansion to the Production Brewery building in 2016, which allowed for a laboratory space, an administrative offices “world headquarters”, a dedicated sour room, and the ability to grow our core production by three to four times what it was in 2014.
Art kept his promise, not only with the expansion of the brand across town, including a restaurant, a full production brewery, a farm, and bakery but in the extended family and community he created within each of those businesses. The hospitable nature of Art’s mother lives on and continues to provide a fun, inclusive, safe space, for family & friends for years to come. Jackie O’s is much more than just a bar, it is a way of life.