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

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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