Beer lovers, this week’s blog is for you. We’ve got news of Black Dog Brewing Co., a new craft brewery planned for Mooresville; information about newcomer Ellison Brewery; and updates from existing operators The Dugout and Ale Emporium.
First up: Black Dog, which expects to open in July at 11230 State Road 67. The brewery is taking over a 10,000-square-foot space formerly occupied by H&R General Contractors Inc.
Black Dog will start off with a 3,500-square-foot brewing operation and a temporary taproom offering a limited food menu. Once that opens, the business plans to work on its permanent taproom, which will occupy 7,000 square feet and should be up and running by early next year.
General partners in the business are the husband-and-wife team of Jeremy and Tiffany Kuntz of Mooresville.
Jeremy Kuntz has 20 years of experience in the beer business. He started as a sales rep for Indianapolis-based Monarch Beverage and has also worked for both the Guinness and Corona brands, with experience in sales, supply-chain operations and brand-building.
Now, the Kuntzes are working to build a business of their own.
“We’re taking that understanding of branding in the beer business and applying that to craft beer,” Jeremy Kuntz said.
That branding, he said, will include touches such as branded beer glasses and custom tap handles, as well as an emphasis on beer education. The establishment also plans to offer beer dinners that pair different brews with food, as well as classes where customers can learn about beer.
The brewery plans to produce three flagship beers–an IPA, a blonde lager and an amber ale—along with a small handful of seasonal and limited-release brews.
Aside from the fact the Kuntzes live in Mooresville, Jeremy Kuntz said the location also makes sense from a business perspective.
The Morgan County town doesn’t have any local breweries, and the closest such operations are Taxman Brewing Co. in the Johnson County town of Bargersville; and two Plainfield establishments: Black Swan Brewpub and Brew Link Brewing.
“Really, from Avon all the way to Center Grove there’s not a lot of brewery options,” Jeremy Kuntz said. “When we did our demographic studies, Mooresville just jumped out as a huge opportunity.”
The head brewer will be Shawn Byrnes, who has previously worked for a number of area brewing operations, including Ram Restaurant and Brewery, Fountain Square Brewery and Upland Brewing Co.
And in case you’re wondering: The brewery takes its name from the Kuntzes’ dog Shelby, a black lab.
“I wanted a name that resonated with people,” Jeremy Kuntz said. “Everyone can relate to a dog.”
In other beer-related news this week:
— The former Tow Yard Brewing spot at 502 S. Madison Ave. downtown, which has been vacant since Tow Yard went out of business early last year, will soon reopen with a new brewery. East Lansing, Michigan-based Ellison Brewery and Spirits is working to open in that space by Memorial Day.
It will be the first outside of Michigan for Ellison, which is also opening soon in Lansing.
“We love downtown Indianapolis—everything about it, everything that’s going on,” said Ellison’s owner, Aaron Hanson.
Hanson, a former automotive design engineer, started the brewery with a high-school friend in 2015 and later bought out his partner’s interest to become the sole owner.
Ellison doesn’t distribute its products in Indiana, but Hanson said the brewery does have a following here. Fans from around the Midwest—including Indianapolis—come to East Lansing when Ellison releases a new beer, Hanson said. “Caravans of these beer nerds come up to buy the beer.”
Ellison will take over the 7,500-square-foot space formerly occupied by Tow Yard. It’s also moving into an adjacent 2,500-square-foot space that it will use as a special-events space, creating an interior doorway to connect the two.
Ellison will also have a full kitchen, including a wood-fired pizza oven, and plans to serve pizza, street tacos, hot sandwiches, burgers and fries along with beer.
— A few miles away in Fletcher Place, the Dugout Bar at 621 Virginia Ave. is expanding and adding an outdoor patio.
The bar has taken over an adjacent space formerly occupied by Café Nonna, adding 2,000 square feet and doubling its original size. It’s also adding an 80-seat outdoor patio that will extend south of the bar to the corner of Stevens Street and Virginia Avenue. The patio should be ready for use within the next few weeks.
The Dugout’s owners are Nick Baxter and Layton John, who purchased the bar in June 2017. Baxter said the bar is expanding because of the sales growth it’s seen over the past two years.
Fletcher Place and nearby Fountain Square have developed a reputation as foodie hot spots. The neighborhood is home to restaurants Milktooth and Bluebeard, as well as Chilly Water Brewing Co. and Hotel Tango Artisan Distillery.
The Dugout’s secret to success, Baxter said, is in staying true to its humble roots. “Everybody’s trying to be fancy and we’re kind of the spot that’s really not,” he said. “Not everyone can afford that, not even in this cool little neighborhood.”
— Our final item this week concerns the Ale Emporium, which is venturing south to 997 E. County Line Road in Greenwood for its third restaurant.
Ale Emporium started in Castleton in 1982, then opened in Fishers in March 2018. It offers local and regional beer, a full bar, wings, pizza and other food in a sports-bar atmosphere.
The Greenwood location, which will be family-friendly, will move into the 8,500-square-foot spot formerly occupied by Fireside Brewhouse, which closed last summer.
Owners of the Greenwood Ale Emporium are Tony Kwiatkowski, Scott Baun and Herman Perryman. Perryman is the creator of a line of sauces Ale Emporium uses on its wings, including what the establishment describes as its “world-famous Hermanaki wings.”
Kwiatkowski said the Greenwood space is being totally remodeled and will feature more than 100 televisions and an expanded patio.
Greenwood seemed like a natural expansion spot to complement Ale Emporium’s north-side restaurants, Kwiatkowski said, and social-media buzz has already started to build for the new spot. “We see a lot of love coming from the south side, and we’re anxious to get started as soon as we can.”