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Sun King plans $8.8M brewery, tasting room in Fishers

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Homegrown craft-beer maker Sun King Brewing Co. plans to build a second production facility and tasting room in Fishers, adding capacity as it widens its reach.

Sun King will keep operating its College Avenue brewery in downtown Indianapolis, but co-owner Omar Robinson said the new $8.8 million Fishers facility will help Sun King keep up with demand.

“We are extremely close to maxing out that facility,” he told IBJ. “We’re running out of space for tanks.”

Founded in mid-2009, the brewery expects to produce about 28,500 barrels of beer this year, Robinson said, up from 5,000 in its first year—and hot on the heels of top-selling Three Floyds Brewing Co. in Munster.

The Fishers facility will be off Interstate 69 just east of Roche Diagnostics' North American headquarters. The operation, which is expected to open in July, could increase Sun King’s capacity by more than 20,000 barrels next year, he said. And it will be built to accommodate future growth.

The brewery is slated to employ about 20 next year and 55 by 2019,

Sun King is in talks with three major beer distributors as it looks to make sure its suds flow throughout Indiana, Robinson said. It’s already available in about 80 percent of the state.

“We want to become Indiana’s beer, like New Glarus is up in Wisconsin,” he said.

Robinson and his partners started talking about adding a location about six months ago, when it became clear production was exceeding expectations. In early 2013, Sun King won state incentives to expand its downtown brewery to about 4,500 square feet.

The ownership group considered locations on the north side of Indianapolis, in Carmel and in Fishers, he said, before selecting an undeveloped 12.8-acre parcel at the southeast corner of Kincaid Drive and Park Central Drive.

Preliminary plans call for a 40,000-square-foot facility, about a quarter of which would be devoted to office and retail space. An expansive tasting room—with the capacity to seat 300-400 people, Robinson said—would sell beer samples and pints to be sipped on-site, plus cans, growlers and kegs for carryout. (And though the downtown location is open only six days a week, he said Sunday hours are a possibility in Fishers.)

No restaurant is planned, but Robinson expects to work with food trucks to provide dining options for guests.

A portion of the additional acreage could be used to grow beer staples hops and barley, he said, and some of it is envisioned as outdoor special-event space.

Developer Thompson Thrift, which acquired the 70-acre Delaware Park commercial subdivision early this year, agreed to work with the town of Fishers to build a multiuse path along Kincaid Drive between the brewery and 106th Street.

The Town Council on Monday is expected to consider a $2.5 million economic development agreement that calls for capturing property taxes generated by the facility for 25 years to fund infrastructure improvements and help offset project costs.

Indiana Economic Development Corp. offered up to $450,000 in industrial-development grants and tax credits based on the job-creation plans.

“Their ideas are pretty extraordinary,” Town Manager Scott Fadness said of Sun King, “and they fit well with our young, entrepreneurial vision for Fishers.”

Town leaders have been working to build an attractive, vibrant downtown that will draw both the small businesses that create jobs and the educated work force they want to hire. Robinson said Sun King is excited to be part of a community on the move.

“We want this to be a destination,” Robinson said.

In fact, an outside study Sun King commissioned through Indianapolis accounting firm Katz Sapper Miller estimated the Fishers brewery could draw 27,000 visitors a year, generating a regional economic impact of $19.5 million.

When it opens, the Fishers facility will produce all of Sun King’s popular Sunlight Cream Ale. Eventually, its Wee Mac Scottish Ale will be added to the mix, followed by its Osiris Pale Ale.

With production of its mainstream products shifting north, the downtown brewery will focus on seasonal and specialty beers, Robinson said.

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  • really? what's all the fuss for?
    So we all live in fishers right??? Why are we asking ourselves why??? The land has been for sale for years. I am excited to know that they ate not only going to have an amazing facility, but they are also making improvement to sidewalk access. We all love our sidewalks in fishers right. People! This is going go with the urban style that fishers is going with. Don't like it? MOVE!! I am super stoked for this. Good for Clay Robinson and Dave Colt. Who would have ever thought after 5 years.
  • My own thoughts
    My blog post with my thoughts on this project. http://purvisforcouncil.blogspot.com/2014/08/sun-king-brewery-comes-to-fishers.html
  • Math
    27010/365=74 daily, not 800. Easily attainable.
  • Bob, reread the story
    The story isn't reporting on the economic impact of salaries, increased property value, etc, just that of some pie-in-the-sky consultant's estimate of 27,000 visitors a year spending $19.5 million while in the region. And, why is the IEDC paying Sun King to build a new facility in Fishers? Did the IEDC actually believe that SK might move their operations to another state? Is there no business that the IEDC will ask to actually pay their own way?
  • let it flow
    Let the sins flow - even on Sunday.
  • Easy math
    Paul and Maria- The economic impact numbers are not simply the amount of money consumers drop at the tasting room. That's not how it works- it takes into account consumer spending, salaries of the 27 new positions(and related COIT) as well as increase in local assessed value to property....not to mention the value of another quality of life amenity for residents.
  • SRSLY no hipsters in IN
    Hipstafarian, please stop trying to scare the wits out of the poor sheltered people of Indy. :) I repeat, there are no hipsters in Indiana - no need for alarm folks. Any self respecting hipster worth their wallet chain or skinny jeans moves to Brooklyn or Hollywood/Studio City once they realize the seriousness of their of their (life)style.
  • Inflated numbers
    Paul, thanks for doing the quick math. Something that our leaders and media can't seem to be bothered to take the time to do. The fact that our local media takes these inflated economic impact numbers and hardly every questions them is discouraging to say the least. From the Indy Eleven to Sun King to conventions and sporting events, why does the public have to continue to get lied to??
  • Congratulations
    'I will take a 3Floyds any day of the week over SK. I hear The Floyds are building a brewery in the south of France to compete on a global scale...Glorious! Hipsters read the IBJ. I am a hipster, your a hipster, we are all hipsters.' Seriously though, congratulations to the Sun King crew! Good people and good beer. Cheers!
    • Say what?
      From the article: "the Fishers brewery could draw 27,000 visitors a year, generating a regional economic impact of $19.5 million." Yes, 800 people will travel to the region daily, spending an average of $700 each, just to pour some SK beer into their gullets and take in whatever else they create in the hinterlands known as an East Fishers industrial park. It goes to prove that you can pay an expert consultant to tell you anything you want to hear.
      • Congratulations Sun King Brewing!!
        Sun King and any other business can locate wherever they want. WHOO HOO! This is OUTSTANDING news. I applaud Omar and Sun King's decision to expand in the Fishers area. Lots of great demand. It is truly an OUTSTANDING time to be a craft brewer in the Indianapolis Metro area. So many wonderful choices! I have Triton Brewing 5 minutes from my house and now Scarlet Lane Brewing in Mccordsville 10 minutes away. Books and Brews..15 minutes away (or less) off of 96th Street (by the Home Depot) is not to be missed and now Sun King will also be the same distance. There is OUTSTANDING craft beer to the north, to the east, to south and to the west and lots of great stuff downtown. PLUS we just got a HopCat!!!!!!!! Life is good! =)
      • Much Needed Extra Space
        I'm a Triton Brewing man myself, but I like some Sun King products. The arguments about where to put the new brewery seem silly to me. First, from everything I can glean from the article, this is going to be a production brewery with a tasting room, much like Triton. No kitchen, no restaurant. Tanks and bottling lines require space. Besides, proximity to the distributor (World Class/Monarch?) is better from Fishers than downtown. Besides, for those who are thinking about PR: 1). PR doesn't pay the bills; 2). East/West side? Where would you have them build it? 38th and Mitthoefer? Rockville and Lynnhurst? Sorry, but stainless steel fermentation tanks are not bullet proof!
      • hipsters
        For all of you complaining about the comments from the "hipsters," do you seriously think hipsters are reading the IBJ??? LOL!
      • No hipsters in IN
        Big LOL - "Some of the comments on this page seem to be from poor hipsters whose image might be tarnished if they were seen in an establishment that serves people in the suburbs." There are no hipsters in IN! Only pretend ones. SRSLY nothing to worry about the coming hipster threat in IN.
      • It's not all about you...
        Whatever you think about their beers, the fact of the matter is that Sun King is a successful, home-grown Indiana business. When is the last time 13 acres of land were available in Center Township or in a near-East-side or near-West-side neighborhood? Answer: it's been a little while. Clearly Sun King has a vision for this next step in its business journey that it believes will be successful at this new location and the large space that it has to offer. As the article mentions, one reason they apparently wanted such a large piece of land is for potentially growing their own hops and barley--actually a great idea considering that they and all of their successful competitors have put a strain on the hops market. I could be wrong, but I don’t think I saw "more farming" on the latest version of the master plan for Indianapolis. And while a healthy core is undoubtedly important for Indianapolis, it's not fair--and more than a little irrational--to criticize Sun King for doing what it believes will be best for the future growth and success of its business. Same goes for the speculation that they will inevitably leave downtown Indianapolis once this new location takes off. We should all be cheering them on as a great Indiana success story, not complaining that they're failing to live up to someone else's, or your own, views on what's important--whether those views are rooted in their current urban Indianapolis location, "gritty" appeal, hipster friendliness, or just the same old bitterness that always seems to surface among those who "found it first" when "it" becomes available to a wider audience. Get real, folks: it's not all about you.
      • Re: Confused
        I think the comments are simply that people in Indianapolis want a business that supports the local (Marion County) tax base, employs local people, and develops Marion County. With so much being made of being "Indianapolis' beer" it seems like a bummer that Sun King decided to invest in Hamilton County. It is good business (good demographics), but sometimes, people want businesses to do things for other reasons.
      • Confused
        So . . . is it about the taste of the beer or the gritty, urban environment? Some of the comments on this page seem to be from poor hipsters whose image might be tarnished if they were seen in an establishment that serves people in the suburbs. I personally just drink whatever I think tastes good regardless of whether it is made downtown or in fishers.
      • Fishers
        If Sun King just wanted to expand into the Fishers market, why didn't they just open a tasting room in the new "downtown" area instead of building in an office park? Folks, don't be fooled. Sun King currently needs two facilities due to Indiana's current production limits, but once those limits are raised (and they will be) and they can produce everything in Fishers, you can bet your bottom dollar they will be hightailing it out of Indianapolis.
      • Not Happy
        Sun King needs to stay in the city! build a bigger spot in the near east side/west side or north side....these areas are developing and it would only add to it. no desire to go to Fishers
      • Ithinkitsa
        First of all, congratulations to Sun King! This is the kind of thing we WANT to have happen to our local businesses! They aren't MOVING to Fishers, they're EXPANDING to meet DEMAND! This is a great thing, and I couldn't be happier to have Wee Mac flowing in my backyard...
      • Makes Sense
        This is probably a good business decision, but extremely disappointing. I guess there comes a time in a breweries life when the square footage, the safe cul-de-sacs and good schools outweigh the desire to be cool and gritty. Good news for Flat 12 - hope they never move to the suburbs.
      • They drink beer in the suburbs, too
        I guess haters gonna hate, but I don't see Sun King ever pulling out of the downtown. They are diversifying their physical presence by expanding into Hamilton County, which I imagine buys a lot of pricey brew. Seems like a good business move. The tone of some of the comments remind me of people who were the "first" to discover a musical artist before they "sold out" and went "mainstream." I don't see this move as a betrayal of Indianapolis, just recognition that the state's highest income market might be a good place to make and sell their product. Sad how much pejorative is spewed toward the north from south of 96th Street. We like craft beer too. Can't we just all get along?
      • Location, location, location
        Why on earth would Sun King choose to build a location in, not only the region's, but the state's most affluent area? What could they possibly be thinking? Oh, I know, instead they should have built and equipped a 40,000 square foot brewery 8 blocks away from their current location. That way they could capture the exact same demographic! I mean, that's just good business. /sarcasm
      • LOLz
        Sun King wants to become the "New Glarus" of Indiana? First of all, to do that, you need to make consistently great beer. Sun King doesn't even come close to doing this. Their house beers are mediocre and a many of their seasonals are overrated (GFJ anyone?). Second of all, Indiana already has our "New Glarus." Its called Three Floyds. They make consistently superior beers. Sun King doesn't hold a candle to them.
      • Disappointed
        If Sun King really wanted to be indiana's beer, they should have expanded downtown. There are plenty of places in the downtown area that would have loved to have helped them create their dream facility.
      • Overrated
        While I'm glad to see Sun King's success, they rank middle of the pack, at best, of Indy's breweries. Bier, Flat 12, and other have better beer and more soul than Sun King could ever hope to have. And let's be honest - there's no way the downtown location will stay open once Fishers is up and running. And sorry, Omar, but you guys are NOTHING like New Glarus. I can't imagine people driving to Indiana just to pick up cases of your overly boozey mediocre beer.
      • Excellent news
        This is truly exceptional news for all. Sun King's beer is always in low supply and very hard to find in any bars, so the expansion is long, long, long overdue. When I need a $5 can of grapefruit/pinesol/popcorn infused domestic light beer (locally known as "cream ale"), Sun King is my vendor of choice. This expansion will allow even more consumers to appreciate the funny tasting municipal tap water, and the move to Fishers should be good to remind businesses that the suburbs are the place to be; a vacant downtown is the key to a successful city.
      • Sun King
        With all the vacant land in Indianapolis, specifically Center Township, it certainly is disappointing that they are choosing a suburban location out in Fishers. With all the other craft breweries in Indianapolis (that frankly make a better product), I will make sure my dollars go to a real local brewery.
      • Success
        I enjoy Sun King beers and they have earned the right to do whatever they want. But it is disappointing to see another company choose suburban sprawl.
      • Too much?
        If Sun King gets to be a big business will their appeal diminish?
      • Fishers? Sheesh
        First, Congratulations to Sun King. But, Fishers? I think it would be a much better from a PR point of view if they located their large production brewery on the near east side or the near west side. It could have the ability to really drive neighborhood development. But, good job Sun King, and your move to Fishers really does put you within close distance to a very good demographic.

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