Heartland Distillers, Porkopolis plan joint facility on Carmel’s west side

A roadside barbecue joint near the border of Carmel and Zionsville is planning to double the size of its building to make room for a micro-distillery.

Porkopolis currently serves beef brisket, pulled pork, turkey, ribs, chicken and more out of a 3,317-square-foot building at 9802 N. Michigan Road. An expansion proposal by the restaurant’s property owner, Michigan Road Heartland Oil LLC, was approved Thursday by the Carmel Plan Commission.

The plan calls for expanding the building’s size with a two-story, 3,400-square-foot addition to accommodate a tasting room and distillery. According to documents filed with the city, Heartland Distillers intends to share the renovated building with Porkopolis.

It is unclear whether Heartland intends to move from its existing location in Fishers.

Eric Gleissner, a partner with Carmel-based Civil Site Group Inc., represented the petitioner at Thursday’s plan commission virtual meeting. He said the expanded space will house a micro-distillery, one that would allow visitors to buy a bottle of whiskey or bourbon after their meal. The tasting room would serve drinks and meals.

The plan commission suspended its typical rules and voted unanimously to approve the project in one meeting.

Gavin Hart, who has previously been identified as one of Porkopolis’ owners, did not respond to multiple requests for comment on the project. Porkopolis General Manager Mac Brown said the owners were not ready to talk about project.

Stuart Hobson, founder of Heartland Distillers, did not respond to multiple requests for comment. Hobson first opened Heartland Distillers in 2008 as wholesale distillery near East 96th Street and Hague Road in Fishers.

Lindsay Hyer, communications director for the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission, said there are no distiller or artisan distiller permits—pending or otherwise—on file for any such operations to occur on Michigan Road. Heartland Distillers at this point is only permitted to produce and sell its spirits from its Fishers location.

However, an application for the new micro-distillery might already be in the works.

“Because the ATC is holding mail for 72 hours before opening, it is possible we have not yet received/processed the application,” Hyer said in an email.

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