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Indy entrepreneurs draft plans for 3 microbreweries

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Three new local microbreweries—Triton Brewing Co., Bier Brewery & Taproom and Flat 12 Bierwerks—are planning to open in the next few months in a rush inspired in part by the runaway success of homegrown Sun King Brewing Co.

“We think it’s great,” said Omar Robinson, Sun King’s president. “The more good breweries serving good craft beer, the more people get exposed to it, the more we all do well.”

There's plenty of room for growth in Indiana's craft-beer market. Craft brews make up only about 1.25 percent of the beer sold in Indiana, compared to about 20 percent in Oregon and roughly 10 percent in Colorado and California.

The demand for local beer has followed the demand for local produce, local meat, local just about everything, said entrepreneur Mike DeWeese, who is working on one of the proposed new breweries.

“This was a natural progression,” DeWeese said. “Indiana has been so far behind, particularly Michigan, in the number of micros opening up."

The planned new breweries:

Triton Brewing Co., a new production brewer named for the Greek god of water, is looking for space along the Binford Boulevard corridor.

The owners—DeWeese, Jon Lang and David Waldman—hope to open the brewery and a tap room by October. Tastings would be held Friday nights and all day Saturday.

Triton has purchased most of what it needs to open, including equipment from the now-closed Warbird Brewing Co. of Fort Wayne, giving it a 20,000-barrel capacity. The owners plan to raise $1 million for the venture, and they already have landed a bottling contract with Oaken Barrel of Greenwood.

The brewery name is a reference to beer’s largest ingredient, water. Triton beers will be made with reverse-osmosis-treated water fortified with minerals appropriate for each type of beer. For example, stouts will be made with water formulated to match that of Dublin, Ireland; and IPAs will be made with London-formulated water.

“It’s an extra 7 cents per gallon of cost, but that’s minute when you think of how much better the beer will taste,” DeWeese said. “You’ll taste things in our beer you can’t taste at any other brewery because there will be nothing to mask the ingredients.”

The plan is to start selling in Indiana and expand to the Chicago area within a year.

The three Triton partners earlier had planned to team up with restaurateur Scott Wise on a microbrewery in the former Sunflower Market space in Broad Ripple, but they couldn't come to terms with Wise on pricing and financing.

Wise, who runs the Scotty's Brewhouse chain, now plans to go solo on his own microbrewery and tap room pub, which will serve dill chips, wings, hummus and pizzas. He hopes to start construction in the next two months and open the spot, dubbed Thr3e Wise Men Brewing Co., in the fall.

Bier Brewery & Taproom, the brainchild of veteran brewer Darren Connor, is set to take 4,000 square feet in an industrial building at 5127 E. 65th St.

Connor, the longtime manager of the nearby beer-and-wine-making supplies retailer Great Fermentations, plans to use about half the space for beer production and the other half for a tasting room and to sell beer and merchandise.

A hearing for zoning approval is scheduled for Tuesday, and Connor hopes to open by the end of summer.

He plans to focus on small batches, particularly seasonals, and sell in-house only, rather than recruiting outside accounts like Sun King does.

“The more people that get to know craft beer, the better,” said Connor, a former assistant brewer at Bloomington Brewing Co. “That’s great, as long as they make good beer. There still are a lot of Bud-Miller-Coors drinkers out there. Beer should taste good—it’s not an acquired taste.”

Flat 12 Bierwerks was inspired by Indy native Sean O’Connor’s experience living in Europe, where he fell in love with craft beer.

Now his new neighbors in the Holy Cross and Cottage Home neighborhoods are falling in love with the concept of O'Connor's new microbrewery.

O’Connor and his two partners have won zoning approval to open the brewery in a roughly 10,000-square-foot industrial building at 402 Dorman St., between Vermont and Michigan streets, a few blocks east of Interstates 65 and 70.

The owners are lining up equipment and other permits required for beer brewing, and hope to open in the late summer or early fall. Most of the space would be used for production, but they hope to maintain a small tasting room with an outdoor seating area.

The plan is to brew six to nine beers, with a focus on distribution in Indianapolis, O’Connor said. They may need to add a second story to the building to accommodate the required equipment.

“We’re excited about what it will mean to the neighborhood,” O’Connor said.

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  • ?
    You were really impressed with bland metallic muddy water?

    You've probably not had a many different craft brews from around to globe then.
  • Sun King
    I have tasted many of Sun King's offerings. Most have been really really good. Anyone knocking Sun King must just not enjoy the style of beer that they were brewing at the time of their exposure, as they constantly experiment and change offerings. I would suggest visiting their tasting room and try all of their current offerings. They are really good at what they do. I'm very impressed with their brewing.
    • osiris
      So you are complaining that a Pale Ale doesn't taste like a IPA ? It isnt trying to be. Alot of people cant handle the Hops like me and you my friend. If you havent tried it I would recommend their ESB druid, if you can take a hoppy beer with a dry finish.
      • Love Sun King
        I love Sun King and I know there are a vast majority of people in Indy who does. I think it is a little low to bash a business when you don't provide any constructive criticism, just inappropriate comments. Also, Sun King is no longer just an Indiana brewery, they are actually ranked worldly now so I think you need to give them a pat on the back for doing something amazing and starting it here in Indy! There is enough beer to satisfy everyones tastes from all breweries around! Cheers to all!
      • RE: Brand Beers vs. Craft Beers
        @Tim: Many breweries and restaurants will let you sample their beer selection so that you don't have to go through the guesswork. I know I tasted Grapefruit Jungle just the other day at Scotty's downtown. Didn't like it at all, but I saved myself at least $5 on a wasted beer.

        So I'd suggest trying a sample at a restaurant, and then if you really like it, go buy pack/growler and go to town.
      • Brand Beers vs. Craft Beers
        My only reluctance to try craft beers is that sometimes I ordered beers that do not taste good -- too fruity, too strong. So I spent good money on beer that did not appeal to me. While ordering a brand beer (Michelob, etc...) I know what I get when I pay for it. So when I am offered a choice, I admit I am reluctant to spend cash on beer I might not like. When I get a craft beer I do like -- boy it sure is more tasty compared to say a Bud Light.
        • more micros!
          It's great that entrepreneurs are being inspired by the success of Sun King and other small brewers and are planning to put their products in bottles and cans for distribution. There's a lot to be said for small, neighborhood operations too, though -- the Broad Ripple Brew Pub (est. 1990) is an excellent example.
        • Sun King
          To those that don't care for Sun King, I completely understand and wholeheartedly thank you for leaving more beer for me. Even with the addition of several new micros in town, there may not be enough good beer to go around. So please feel free to avoid Sun King and any of the other Indiana micros.
        • I didn't like beer until
          I never liked beer until I tried craft beer. Love the IPAs, Brown Ales, Porter, and Stout.
          I'm very excited that more microbreweries are opening up in Indy!
        • yuck
          I agree, sunking may be good for Indiana beer, it is very subpar!
        • Micro Brewery
          I have had Darren's beer at Great Fermentations. Indy is in for a real treat.
        • Sun King
          I guess you missed their TWO World Beer Cup medals in April.
        • Great News
          Great to hear that 3 new brewery's will be opening, we need all of the good beer we can get. While the comments are starting to be macro vs micro it's not suprising. Most brewpubs still carry Bud/Coors, etc. I'm guilty of a dirty look or comment to someone drinking a Coors Light while I'm enjoying a big mug of IPA. Unfortunately, big beer is an acquired taste. It took me awhile to get to the point where no beer is to hoppy.
        • Sure it is to a coors light drinker
          Honestly I would say Osiris is their best beer. With that said its weak for a Pale Ale. I am a hop lover and enjoy many better Pales and IPAs produced locally. Osiris is really confused with what it is trying to be and honestly is attempting to be a knock off another Indiana beer. Honestly IMO the only thing they have going for them is buzz. They were new to scenes and sparked interest in some folks that were new to craft beer. I feel that once those people start discovering craft beer they'll see there's better product in the market and they loose out. It will be interesting to see if SunKing will be able to setup and produce with the established breweries or if they'll stay on the same path
          • honor the God of the Sun
            Sunking's osiris is an outstanding Beer.
            Thouh I could undersatnd if you were not a hop lover(Coors Light afficianado) you might not be able to appreciate it.
            Keep brewing in the Valle of the Sun
            • SunKing No Good
              I hope some of these new microbreweries will produce a quality product. SunKing beer is horrible and there are plenty of other craft beers produce locally and in the state that our superior. If SunKing and these other breweries don't step up to the plate they will not be around for long.
              • Craft Cases
                MikeW -- just ask your local liquor store for a case of your favorite craft brew. Everything you see on their shelves came in a larger (usually 4 x 6-pack) package from the distributor and was broken down for display in their store. Most stores would pretty pleased to sell that sort of craft volume to you.

                This brewery explosion is awesome for Indy!
              • Craft v Coors
                I wonder if the difference in the consumption of non-craft beers is because its rare that you can get the craft beers by the "case" as you can with the larger corporations. If I go to the track - I'm not going to bring 6 or 8 small packages of the craft beer - I want one large case of beer (cans or bottles). I wonder if convienence and ease of transport is what is adding to that unnerving stat on the other brands.
              • Lakehouse
                Scotty's Lakehouse in Geist not only serves Indiana craft beers but we do so almost exclusively. 90% of taps and 95% of bottles served proudly at the Lakehouse are brewed right here in Indiana. Come in tonight and try a GREAT Indiana beer and sample something from our Indiana focused burger menu. DRINK LOCAL BABY!!!
              • response
                Sadly, people really are drinking that many big name beers (Coors/etc)

                Hell, you can go to Spencers (who have amazing things on draft every day) and see 10-20 people that will come in and actually pay more for a Budweiser/Coors. People think of Microbrews as 'fancy' but don't really realize what they are missing taste wise, and honestly, money wise in some cases.

                I try to get my friends to try new things, when I meet them and can usually get people to experiment, but its strange when people are hard wired to drink Miller/Corona/etc and don't understand the difference.
              • Hops
                I really miss the food and beer at the old Hops on 82nd Street. While it was a chain (the chain is no more, as far as I know), i loved it. Have good food and good craft beer, they will draw 'em in.
              • Best of Luck
                "Great Beer Made Here" and now more of it! Good luck to you all and I can't wait to see what you got!
              • Craft Beer Share for Indiana
                That craft beer share percentage (1.25% of overall beer consumed in Indiana) includes Sierra Nevada, Bell's, New Belgium and Sam Adams, but does not include Goose Island. (Goose is partly owned by Anheuser Busch, so their numbers are tallied differently.)

                But the important thing to us in Indiana is that while our craft beer percentage of consumption may be relatively small, we are really starting to grow with some great local brewers and I expect to see those numbers increase dramatically in future years. Indiana has a whole lot of upward potential for better beers and the great local brewers here now and those yet to come will help to raise the bar for beer.

                I, for one, could not be more excited about the local beer scene and where it is headed.

                Bob Mack
                World Class Beverages
              • Check the address
                "Bier Brewery & Taproom, the brainchild of veteran brewer Darren Connor, is set to take 4,000 square feet in an industrial building at 5127 E. 65th St. in Broad Ripple."

                That address is not in Broad Ripple. It's close to Binford Blvd. Not trying to nit-pick, just trying to get the facts straight.
              • Response to Dan
                I wondered that too, because if you look around Bell's and New Belgium are pretty prominent in Indy (at least from what I've seen). I also am assuming that's take-home sales and not restaurant sales.
              • Craft ber sales
                "DWTNINDY23June 8, 2010 12:59 PM
                This is great news for Indy...was shocked to see that craft beer sales are that low for Indiana with Three Floyd's, Upland and several other successful breweries in the state. Are people really drinking that much Coors Light in this state? "

                I wonder if that amount does not count the in-between breweries, like Sam Adams, Goose Island, Sierra Nevada, etc. I'm sure the big 3 take most of the percentage, but there's other breweries that make up sales like foreign makes (Heineken, Guinness, Modelo, etc).
                • Fantastic!
                  This is great news for Indy...was shocked to see that craft beer sales are that low for Indiana with Three Floyd's, Upland and several other successful breweries in the state. Are people really drinking that much Coors Light in this state?
                  • Welcome!
                    It's so great to see this community growing! I wish all of the newcomers the best and look forward to sharing a pint!

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