Sun King Brewing Co. announced Thursday morning that Robert Whitt is stepping down as executive director of the White River State Park to become its new president.
Whitt, who served as the park’s director for 11 years, also will become a co-owner. He will focus on the brewery’s growth and business operations, in addition to legislative matters and other responsibilities.
IBJ reported earlier this month that Sun King is installing three additional fermentation tanks at its downtown facility on College Avenue after state lawmakers last year agreed to increase the maximum number of barrels that a small brewery can produce in a calendar year from 30,000 to 90,000.
Whitt replaces Omar Robinson, a Sun King co-founder and co-owner, who turned 78 this month and will retire in April. Robinson will remain a member of the brewery’s board.
Co-founder Clay Robinson said his father, Omar, helped drive Sun King’s growth to 30,000 barrels annually in roughly six years. The father and son started Sun King with Dave Colt in 2009.
“While leadership transitions can admittedly be challenging, we are fortunate to gain Bob on our team,” Clay Robinson, the company's vice president of public relations and marketing, said in a prepared statement. “His extensive operations experience, dedication to giving back to Indiana communities and passion for local food and beverages—especially Sun King—make him the perfect fit for this role.”
During his tenure at White River State Park, Whitt oversaw the development and operations of its facilities, which host more than 3 million visitors annually. They are the Indianapolis Zoo, White River Gardens, Victory Field, Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, IMAX Theatre, Indiana State Museum, NCAA Hall of Champions and The Lawn outdoor music venue.
Before joining the park, Whitt was a principal in Whitt Commercial Real Estate Services for seven years.