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