08 November 2010

Hoosier Beer Geek Six Pack Interview Special Edition: Greg Emig on Broad Ripple Brewpub

It's an amazing fact: there have only been four brewers in the twenty year history of Broad Ripple Brewpub. Greg Emig, owner of Lafayette Brewing Company, was Broad Ripple Brewpub's second brewmaster. As we approach BRBP's 20th Anniversary Party on Sunday, we are happy to present a six pack interview with him.

1.) During what time period were you at BRBP and what positions did you hold?

I worked at BRBP from October of 1990 thru February of 1991 as a laborer during construction, then as a shift manager and bartender once the restaurant opened. I returned in September of 1991 as the brewer and stayed thru December of 1992.

2.) Prior to BRBP, what sort of jobs did you do? What brought you to BRBP?

A bit of everything- tended bar; sold real estate; worked as a shop office manager in a steel fabrication facility. I'd been homebrewing all that time and headed to Indy to talk to John the day after I heard he was opening.

3a.) Previous brewers: What did you do/where did you go after BRBP? How did your time at BRBP affect your career path/choices?

The wife and I moved to Lafayettte to open LBC. The short time I had spent at BRBP showed me that we wanted to pursue our own brewpub. The return stint as a brewer provided me with the brewing background to actually make our own project happen.

3b.) Current brewer: Why are the other three suckers for not staying at BRBP?

The big money & hot babes. Oh wait, I'm not Kevin.

4.) Tell us about the challenges of a new brewpub specializing in English beers blazing the craft beer trail in Indiana.

While there was certainly novelty that attracted people to the first brewpub in Indiana, it was pretty much about the same things then as it is now: good beer & good food. We probably spent a bit more time educating our customers on beers styles back then, but I was also focused on just learning the system and producing the best beers we could. Winning the GABF gold for the bitter also helped bring in the media attention to BRBP and the small brewing revolution that was just starting in Indiana.

5.) What are your favorite things about BRBP, past and present, when it came to beer, food, people, etc.?

Without question, my favorite thing is the foundation that John laid when he opened Broad Ripple. The early staff was a fun and beer-enthused bunch! It's kind of amazing when you consider 3 of those original staff members are commercial brewers 20 years later with a combined brewing experience of about 60 years! In addition, the three former brewers from LBC are now all brewery owners themselves, so the foundation that John laid continues to seed new breweries across the country. Then, of course, there's the scotch eggs, wet fries and Thai peanut anything.

6.) I know that you have John Hill stories. Please share one. Or two. Or ten.

I'm not much of a story teller, and what happens at beer festival stays at beer festival. So I'll stick with the things that made my time at BRBP such a great experience. Not only did John give me the opportunity to brew, to represent BRBP at beer festivals, to visit a great number (at least for the time) of small breweries and talk to the owners and brewers about all things beer and brewing, but we also spent time on some interesting non-beer related excursions. From touring a Chicago neighborhood to check out Frank Lloyd Wright-built homes to catching a ballgame at Fenway Park to a visit to a local museum, we took the time to experience more than just beer and brewing related attractions in our travels. A good reminder for a 20-something brewer that there is more to life than just beer.

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