Update: Black Acre wins approval to expand brewing

February 11, 2014
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Local bars and restaurants soon could be offering beer from The Black Acre Brewing Co.

Black Acre 225pxThe Irvington brewpub operation received a zoning variance Feb. 5 from the Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission that allowed it to increase its brewing capacity fivefold, from three to 15 barrels.

The variance was needed for 5,000 square feet of space that Black Acre is leasing for expanded brewing operations at 5543 Bonna Ave. That’s about two blocks south of Black Acre's brewpub at 5632 E. Washington St., where it currently has three-barrel capacity.

The space on Bonna Avenue was zoned for commercial use, but needed an industrial classification to accommodate brewing. Black Acre owners signed a lease and began moving equipment into the space in November, but were stopped when the Department of Code Enforcement refused to grant them permits for interior work because they didn’t have proper zoning.

With the variance, owners of Black Acre now hope to begin demolishing the space within the next couple of weeks. The extra capacity should prevent them from running out of beer at their Irvington tap room, which will continue to produce beer as well.

Then owners will consider selling beer outside the confines of the brewpub.

“Once we see how much extra we have, we’re looking at distribution to bars and restaurants, in terms of kegs,” said Justin Miller, one of Black Acre’s five owners.

The space on Bonna Avenue is in a 50,000-square-foot building that runs along the Pennsy Trail. The trail stops at Arlington Avenue. But this summer the city plans to extend it from Arlington to Ritter Avenue and to Ellenberger Park.

To take advantage of trail traffic, there’s a chance Black Acre ultimately could sell beer for public consumption from its Bonna Avenue location. That would be ideal for Margaret Banning, executive director of the Irvington Development Organization.

“We’re hoping they can have more of a presence there,” she said.

Black Acre opened at 5632 E. Washington St. in February 2012.

  • Thankful code enforcement did not kill this project
    I think the power held by the Department of Code Enforcement has gone to their heads. Go Google map this area, you'll see that Black Acre is bringing a productive, creative business to an area that obviously needs it.
  • Code Enforcement
    Any critique of code enforcement is very well-founded, but you have to fair here... They really should have done something resembling due diligence before entering into contract on the property. Land use is a little more complicated than looking at a building and assuming it's zoned appropriately.
  • Brew news
    I think Indianapolis needs a newspaper that is exclusively news about fresh local honest slow craft micro triple-hops organic artisinal small-batch beer. There simply isn't enough room in these pages for all this thrilling news about this ultra-premium Indianapolis beer that will surely change the world forever
  • C'mon Martin
    Microbreweries may not "change the world forever," but Black Acre is one part of a changing Irvington that I support wholeheartedly. You may not like beer, or maybe just not craft beer, but surely you're not against small businesses increasing traffic and value to our city's neighborhoods?
    • Au contraire
      It is because I love craft beer that I am so offended by the local craze. Almost all of the craft beer produced in Indianapolis tastes absolutely terrible. Try something from Colorado and you'll understand what I mean.
      • Whatever
        I'm guessing we're a bit behind the game on craft brewing, so I'd say give these locals time to step up their games. By then I'm sure Colorado will on to be beating us in craft marijuana hybrids, or something that will maintain our competitive inferiority for you.

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      1. Of what value is selling alcoholic beverages to State Fair patrons when there are many families with children attending. Is this the message we want to give children attending and participating in the Fair, another venue with alooholic consumption onsite. Is this to promote beer and wine production in the state which are great for the breweries and wineries, but where does this end up 10-15 years from now, lots more drinkers for the alcoholic contents. If these drinks are so important, why not remove the alcohol content and the flavor and drink itself similar to soft drinks would be the novelty, not the alcoholic content and its affects on the drinker. There is no social or material benefit from drinking alcoholic beverages, mostly people want to get slightly or highly drunk.

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