Welcome back to IBJ’s new video feature, “Inside Dish: the Business of Running Restaurants.”
Our subject this week is the Broad Ripple mainstay Brugge Brasserie, now celebrating its fifth anniversary. The brewpub's
beer and continental vittles echo Belgian cuisine, but the ownership skews decidedly local. Managing partners Ted Miller and
his wife, Shannon Stone, along with co-owners Eli Schloss and Abraham Benrubi, were members of Broad Ripple High School's
Class of 1987.
Sales and profits have grown steadily since Brugge's first full calendar year, with big jumps in 2009 after the addition
of upstairs seating. But business hasn't always been as smooth as its blond signature brew, Tripel de Ripple.
In 2007, the Brugge owners joined forces with a handful of other investors to buy a Terre Haute-based production brewery.
The plan was to satisfy the growing demand for beer at Brugge in Broad Ripple, as well as to produce Brugge-brand beers for
sale at retail locations and Indiana bars and restaurants. Licensing and scheduling woes delayed production for eight months,
and the operation soon ran into other obstacles. The root of the problem: Miller was unable to find a suitable on-site manager
or supervise the operation himself with any regularity.
In the video below, Miller details his plans for bringing the brewing operations to Indianapolis and then
adding other Brugge Brasserie locations across the Midwest.
Since the eatery's opening, Miller has been pleasantly surprised by how easily Hoosiers have taken to the somewhat exotic
menu with major items listed by their French names, such as moules frites, or mussels and fries. (Brugge sells some
35,000 pounds of mussels per year and an astounding 187,000 pounds of fries.) In the video below, IBJ
gets to the bottom of the Belgian influence.