28 July 2010

Keeping Track of the New Brewery Jungle

It's a long and arduous process to get a brewery off the ground - just the process to be approved as a brewer by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) involves completing and submitting six forms, a diagram and description of the brewery premises, a legal description of the brewery, and a statement describing the security at the brewery.

Before a brewery can file the diagrams and descriptions, they must first have zoning approval with the state. Once zoning and TTB approval have been completed, breweries also have to complete the appropriate state paperwork as well.

As a result of this process, we know that any brewery still working on a location has a long way to go before they're brewing beer. Breweries that have completed all these steps appear on this page, giving us a heads up that they're almost there.

The following new breweries are all going through these steps now, but only one of them has reached the final steps of gaining a state permit. We'll start there.

Brewery: Thr3e Wise Men Brewing Co. (website - coming soon)
Players: Scotty Wise, Omar Castrellon (former brewer at Alcatraz Brewing Company)
Location: 1021 Broad Ripple Avenue, Indianapolis
Focus: (cliché but, true) - "Big beers, West Coast style IPA's, double IPA's, Chocolate Imperial Stouts, being different and using local ingredients for some styles." - Omar and I want to do a few small bottle runs (where we will hand cap the bottles and hand fill them) a couple times a year and just have fun with our creativity. I want to offer one organic/local seasonal beer, if possible. We are looking into this. I look up to Founders, Dogfish Head, 3 Floyds, Stone… if I would want to emulate a brewery, it would be these guys.
Long Term Goals: No long term goals. Don't want to get over my skis. I want to try to put out a great, original, quality product. Start small, get it right and then grow. That is the goal. I want to exclusively offer this at our Scotty's concepts only. We might look to offer this in the northern and southern parts of the state too, at some point. If we open in Ft. Wayne, as expected in the Parkview Ballpark, I have a goal to be THE craft beer of the ball park.
More from Hoosier Beer Geek: Coming Soon to Broad Ripple: Another Hoosier Brewery (February 28, 2010)

Although his efforts to put together a brewery with the folks behind what has now become Triton fell apart, Scotty Wise may come out smelling like a rose. Brewer Omar Castrellon has a long history of producing quality beer at Alcatraz, but producing for Scotty's ever-expanding empire of restaurants should give him plenty of volume and beer turnover, providing plenty of room for creativity.

Brewery: Triton Brewing Company (website, twitter)
Players: Mike DeWeese, David Waldman, Jon Lang (former brewer at Barley Island)
Location: The last time we spoke, the brewery was looking for space on the northeast side of Indianapolis, along the Binford Boulevard corridor. Actual location still unconfirmed, but Triton is in the process of finalizing their location.
Focus: "Our aim is to provide happiness and joy through beer and to become the most successful and respected brewery in the State of Indiana. Triton Brewing Company will produce Indiana’s 'Flagship' beer, providing outstanding quality, service, and value." (from Facebook)
Long Term Goals: Indiana and Chicago distribution in year one, statewide distribution within two years of opening.
From Facebook:
Our products and services will be "best in class" in terms of value received for dollars paid. We will deliver excellence, strive for continuous improvement and respond vigorously to change.

We are dedicated to satisfying our customers. We believe in respecting our customers, listening to their requests and understanding their expectations. We strive to exceed their expectations in affordability, and quality.

Triton Brewing Company will produce five brands year-round:

Railsplitter IPA
Brown Ale
Amber Ale


Additionally we will distribute a number of seasonal beers and some 'Brewer's Choice' beers will be available in the tasting room.
More from Hoosier Beer Geek: Announcing Triton Brewing Company (May 27, 2010)

After the collapse of the Scott Wise/Thr3e Wise Men collaboration, Triton was left looking for a new location to house their already purchased equipment. We've seen Jon Lang out and about at various brewery functions, and it's obvious he's ready to get back to brewing. Hopefully we'll see something from him soon.

Brewery: Flat 12 Bierworks (website, twitter)
Players: Steve Hershberger (CMO), Sean O'Conner (President), Mr. X Director of Brewing Operations (name to be announced soon), Bob Weaver, Community Manager
Location: 414 Dorman Street, Indianapolis
Focus: Brewing top line craft beer the old school way. Quality, craftsmanship and customer focus first. Brewing Blonde (wheat), American Wit, Amber, IPA/Organic IPA, a family of Porters, as well as a number of seasonal beers.
Long Term Goals: Establishing Flat 12 as a leader in craft beer brewing in the Midwest. Create an onsite experience that caters to craft beer fans and Hopstars, who want to travel from around the Midwest to visit. Distribute Flat 12 products to fans east of the Mississippi, as well as introduce Midwestern craft to beer fans in Canada and select EU countries.
From the company website:
This summer, Flat 12 will be launching six new craft beers, although the brewery is capable of producing over 30 (yes, we said 30) different beers. Working with our current group of Hopstars, we tasted and tested and then we tasted and tested some more. In the end, we settled on six beers we want to introduce to you this year. Although more will come, you'll love these six.
Flat 12 is surely not lacking in ambition. With a distribution and marketing deal already in place with Pelican Brands, Flat 12 seems to be ahead of the game.

Brewery: Bier Brewery and Taproom (website)
Players: Darren Connor (formerly of Great Fermentations)
Location: 5127 E. 65th St., Indianapolis
Focus: Small batches, particularly seasonals, and sell in-house only, rather than recruiting outside accounts like Sun King does. (source: ibj.com)
From the company website:
Bier will serve anywhere from six to eight different beers once we are open. These offerings will reflect the seasons and Darren's specialties
Darren's experience at Great Fermentations means that he knows good beer. With in-house only sales, it will be interesting to see how much exposure the brewery receives. At worst, Bier Brewery and Taproom should be a valuable asset to those in the neighborhood seeking out good beer.

Brewery: Brownfield Brewing Company (website, facebook)
Players: Ken Warren (start up manager for bottling facilities), Kenny Allen (former brewmaster for Old Dominion Brewing), and Arifah Aronson (owns a green renovation and contracting company)
Location: The brewery will be located in Fountain Square
Focus: The focus will to create a sustainable (leed certified) organic brewery from a brownfield that will use local raw materials (as much as possible, as we know, organic hops will likely be from New Zealand so we will use carbon offsets for those but we do have local farmers that can supply a portion of the hops we need) and cap the distribution radius to 500 miles to stay local and as keep our carbon footprint as small as possible. If the business becomes successful enough to expand outside of 500 miles, it will be done from another facility outside that radius and will be built from remediating another brownfield. We don't want to ship beer (which is 95% water) across country like many large scale brewers. Our goal is to be as green/sustainable as possible, and teach others in Indianapolis - through on site education - how to convert a brownfield to a sustainable business. There are lots of opportunities in Indy for this and the city greatly needs leaders in this arena to help revitalize the areas where the auto industry left its scars.
Long term goals: Long term goals are to be a leader in our local market on how to operate with the lowest carbon footprint possible, and teach this model on-site from a remediated brownfield. We want to show everyone how to create a sustainable business that increases local revenue for our local residents in Indiana.
From the company website:
500 mile distribution, green, all natural, leed certified, employee owned, local, sustainable, organic
Brownfield's approach is one that not many have taken, but the ownership group's combined experience should make for an interesting effort. Owner Arifah Aronson has a background in green building - her company, Aronson Custom Homes, specializes in offseting the negative effects of conventional building techniques, conserving natural resources, and reducing the "carbon footprint" of the building process. (source) Brewer Kenny Allen's experience at Delaware's Old Dominion (a BeerAdvocate.com A- overall) should mean that we can expect a quality product.


  1. I hope they all turn out good beer. I have the fear that the success of Sun King (I am certainly not knocking them) but that it has inspired copy cats that are entrepreneurs at heart and not true fans of beer. The proof will be in the pudding or the beer I should say.

  2. Nice work Indiana and thanks HBG for keeping us updated.

  3. Exciting news. That Pelican Brand press release reads like a Onion story!

    Very interesting research and news though. Wish they weren't so secretive about their craft, but I guess without a little secrecy, the hype isn't built up and someone could steal their thunder!

  4. I don't wanna be a HopStar....

    I don't buy into Flat 12's hype. It seems to me someone saw dollar signs and created a marketing campaign, and sent out a few press releases. Next thing you know they are Indy's newest up and coming brewery.

    Their "distribution deal" is with their own marketing company. They don't even have a brewer yet. I'm not buying into the hype. At least the other new breweries are startups with known and respected local brewers.

  5. Gotta disagree with Evil up there. I happen to know the brewer/partner in the Flat 12 project and can assure you, in no uncertain terms, that his beer is consistently some of the finest I have had the pleasure to sample.

    Can't see why they're getting this negativity for having their stuff together before sending out a press release. Omigosh a startup that was actually prepared...

    If only some of these other entities had gotten their own ducks in a row first we wouldn't have all the musical chairs and hurry up and wait while we do the paperwork shenanigans.

    Rock out with your Hops out! \m/hrop09

  6. Yeah I think that in the end you've gotta put all that marketing aside and see how the beer is - I know that there have been samples out here and there, and we're talking with the Flat 12 folks and hoping to sample and write about the beer shortly.

    No one's going to be able to make brewing a profitable venture on marketing alone - you've really gotta have an audience that loves your beer - especially when we're talking about five new options all at the same time. It'll be interesting to see if they all survive - and here's hoping they do. There are plenty of (really cool) cities where multiple large breweries thrive because their beer is great. I'm hoping Indy is going to be next on that list.

  7. I've added these to my list of "coming soon" to Indianapolis. Please keep me updated if anyone catches wind of other new places, or updates to the existing places.



  8. This is all very exciting and great for the Indiana craft beer movement. It's a return to the natural order of beer that existed prior to Prohibition and good for all of the craft beer-dom.

    Don't be too quick to judge, just let the natural selection of beer Darwinism cull the herd. If anyone tries to enter the craft brew movement with just dollar signs in mind, they will certainly fail like so many did back in the mid 90's.

    Maybe I'll be in a place to pick up some nice used brewing equipment for my garage brewery.

    I applaud them all for having the guts to offer Indiana more selection.

  9. do i smell a conflict of interest with flat 12????