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New Fountain Square brewery shoots for August opening

May 12, 2011

The owners of a new microbrewery in Fountain Square, slated to open by mid-August, plan to differentiate the business by focusing on the "convergence of art and science" in brewing.

Two of the three partners in the 11,000-square-foot Fountain Square Brewing Co. project—Bill Webster, a project manager at Eli Lilly and Co, and Jeff Gibson, an executive in Aramark Corp. who lives in Dallas—have an educational background in science. The third partner is electrical engineer Justin Brown.

They are investing about $300,000 to launch the brewery and tasting room, joining fellow downtown breweries Sun King and Flat 12 Bierwerks.

"We hope to achieve a high level of consistency and quality in our beer," Webster said. "One of the challenges is making sure it always tastes the same, every time."

A Metropolitan Development Commission hearing examiner will consider a rezoning request for the brewery Thursday afternoon. The city's planning staff has endorsed the plans, which call for the brewery to move into a former carburetor-repair shop at 1301 Barth Ave. The company has won approval for a state brewing permit and is waiting on a federal permit.

A site plan shows a tasting room in the building's southeast corner, and five outdoor tables and a parking area on what is now a cracked and overgrown parking lot. The 15-barrel brewing system, which Fountain Square Brewing bought from Alcatraz Brewing Co. for $135,000 after the brewpub closed its Circle Centre location, already occupies the southwest portion of the building.

The brewery has agreed to a seven-year lease of the building, which is owned by Southeast Neighborhood Development, and is considering an application for a facade-improvement grant.

"Right now it's an incredibly ugly building," Webster said.

The brewery will be staffed initially by four full-time and two part-time employees, but the owners hope to grow it fast enough to employ 12 full-timers by its third year in operation.

It tentatively will open for tastings and growler fills four days a week from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

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