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Scotty's owner planning to open microbrewery

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Scott Wise has always wanted to brew his own beer—not a gallon or two at home, but in quantities large enough to satisfy the thirsty hordes who flock to his Scotty’s Brewhouse restaurants.

Now it looks like he’ll get his wish.

The local entrepreneur is moving forward with plans to launch Scotty’s Thr3e Wise Men Brewing Co., a microbrewery that will produce craft beer for his eateries and the public. Wise filed its articles of incorporation with the state Tuesday.

MORE FROM IBJ
Check out the March 1 edition of IBJ for a profile of restaurateur Scott Wise.

Wise expects production to begin and an Indianapolis tasting room to open within six months.

“It has always been in my gut,” said Wise, 36. “It just makes sense to do it now.”

When he created Scotty’s in 1996, craft brewing was hot. Eight microbreweries opened in the state that year, according to the Brewers of Indiana Guild, joining the seven that had debuted in the previous decade. As a result, equipment was expensive—especially for a 22-year-old buying a bar on contract for $60,000.

Now the industry is experiencing a resurgence thanks to consumers’ growing interest in specialty brews. And used equipment is available, lowering the cost of entry.

Wise has worked out an arrangement with another startup brewer, Beer Baron LLC. The two entities plan to share equipment and retail space, but each will develop its own recipes and sell its own beer.

Former Barley Island Brewing Co. brewmaster Jon Lang is Beer Baron’s head brewer. The other partners are David Waldman, a former Irish pub owner who now is director of youth and outreach at JCC Indianapolis, and local restaurateur Mike DeWeese, who owned a Buffalo Wild Wings franchise and two independent eateries downtown before joining Granite City Brewing Co. last year.

Beer Baron, which is still working on a a brand name, bought equipment from now-shuttered Warbird Brewing in Fort Wayne, DeWeese said, and the partners are working with Wise to finalize a location for their joint facility.
 
“For me, it has always been about the beer,” DeWeese said. “The room for growth in Indiana is astronomical.”

Clay Robinson, who co-founded locally based Sun King Brewing Co., agrees.

“There is a lot of room for craft beer in Indiana,” said Robinson, who worked on Sun King for at least four years before opening the brewery in 2009. “The bottom line for any brewery is whether or not it makes good beer.”

An admitted control freak, Wise said he will take an active role in developing the recipe for the four or five styles of brew that will carry the Scotty’s name. He also has specific ideas for the tasting room: about 2,000 square feet of comfortably furnished space, open limited hours, that will sell a handful of Scotty’s appetizers in addition to beer.

“That’s just my style,” he said. “Anything I’m involved in gets 100 percent of my attention, especially when it has my name on it.”

Scotty’s Thr3e Wise Men—a nod to the founder and his two sons, Slater and Lincoln—will have built-in customers in Wise’s restaurants. He said the five Brewhouses alone will keep the kegs rolling. And having their own brewery will help the restaurants’ bottom line.

A keg of craft beer costs an average of $160, Wise said. He thinks he can brew the same amount of beer for about $40. Even with a markup to pay for production and transportation, the savings will add up. And if customers respond to the lower price by buying more, all the better.

“When you look at that across the board,  it really snowballs,” Wise said.

Once the brewery and tasting room gets up and running, Wise wants to add a commissary kitchen where Scotty’s cooks can make cakes, pies, sauces and some popular dishes for all the restaurants in a central location, cutting labor costs and ensuring consistency.

Wise, who is set to debut the Scotty's Lakehouse restaurant concept March 1, already is working on bottling Scotty’s Mo-Fo Hot Sauce, and other favorites like Dill Chips also could be available at the commissary—or grocery stores—eventually.

“The beer comes first,” he said.

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  • Not trying to be a jerk...
    Actually, a brewhouse IS exactly that. Its the part of a brewery (and the specific equipment) where the beer is brewed. If this establishment was being correct and was naming itself after a part of brewery, it'd be called, "The Tasting Room". -Ty
  • Wow
    Tell me how you really feel.

    ;)

  • No need for Douchbag brew
    Mr. Wise spends too much time arguing with my wife on facebook about this ignorant rants to really craft a good beer. I would be surprised if he could even name 3 different kinds of brews, without pilsner or american ale being counted.
  • Brewhouse â? Bar
    Brewhouse is a totally misleading name for a bar that only resells other people's beer. A brew house actually BREWS beer, it's a european term for a brew pub. When there is BREW in the title, you expect that they DO THAT.

    I have brewed infinitely more beer in my garage and kitchen than Scotty Wise has in ANY of his establishments.
  • Real brewers
    To all that know good beer,
    Everybody and their brother's cousins want to open a brewery nowadays. Good luck to all of them! The bottom line is that brewing beer is an art itself, most don't have what it takes nor even know what it takes to produce a quality, consistent beer. I love it when there are new brewers on the commercial scene. Most won't make it past 1 year. The past 2 years have been full of new "breweries" opening up, and most of the beer has been far below par, some totally infected. Brugge is my favorite by telling people that their $6 pints taste like the authentic beer from Belgium. Beer from Belgium is extremely gooooood and is not an acquired taste, like Brugge would want you to believe. Scotty's will end up having subpar, bland, entry level beer for all of his "brewhouses". I wish someone would open up a brewhouse that actually cared about and produced awesome beer time and time again,...oh wait, their name is SUN KING, and also there is a rumor that the brewer from Great Fermentations will be opening soon also.
    Good Beer Always,
    El Duderino
  • Beer First
    I will restate that the beer needs to be of extremly high quality. The house beers at most brewhouses (Rock Bottom, Ram, Alcatraz, Granite City) are sub par by craft beer standards, but still miles better than the usual offerings in a restaurant. The flip side of having more craft breweries and better beer in Indiana is that people's palattes and expectations improve and this is a great thing. Just please provide more than the watery, placate the masses beer that is provided at other chain brew houses.
    All that said I wish you the best of luck and hope that you are sucessfull.
  • Brewhouse = Brew Pub
    @Brewer: the term "Brewhouse" does not imply they brew their own beer - that would be a "Brew Pub". It's a common thing in the industry - see Fireside Brewhouse on the South side (no brewing) vs. Broad Ripple Brew Pub.
    • Huh?
      Is it weird that Sun King opens to a huge success and now their is 50 other people talking about doing the same thing as them? Wish Scott luck because I am a BSU alum but make sure the beer has passion or it will fail.
    • Hope the beer.....
      is better than the food.
    • Fix What needs work before you expand
      For nearly two years I have spent a large sum of money frequenting Scotties Downtown. I completely agree about the poor service (bumbling servers traveling from table to table in an attempt to uncover who ordered the food) and sub-par menu items.
      Another facet that completely baffles me is the lackluster rewards program (that has a fee to join). My only reward has been a sore back from another piece of plastic in my wallet (not from the money I've saved). If this is any sign of how they will run their brewery business they will probably shutter just like Warbird.
    • A sham
      Seems to me the beer is an afterthought. How do you call yourself a brewhaus and wait 14 years before brewing (and then only in a central location)?

      It's pathetic! Even the original location in Muncie isn't a brew pub, never has been, and Muncie could use that, they have never had a brewpub!

      And I wonder what his undersized pitchers will sell for now? They are over $20 each, depending on the craft beer. That's way too much, and a pitcher is supposed to be 1/2 gallon, not 3 pints!
    • Existing location needs help before expansion...
      The Downtown location is the worst. Lousy service, servers that don't know the business, and incredibly high turnover. Sure would be a nice place to start a restaurant. Good concept, poor execution.
    • on another note
      Ask Mr. Wise, how you have more servers than customers and still have crappy slow refills at each of the Scotty's I've been to?

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