2011 has already seen licenses issued to five new Indiana breweries1, with ten more currently in the permitting process2, and rumors and/or websites for at least five more efforts in the works3. 4
That's pretty fucking crazy.
The Brewers Association recently reported that 2010 saw a 11% increase in craft breweries in America. If all the efforts in the works actually happen, Indiana is about to see a 51% increase in 2011/12.
From the outside, that looks like an unsustainable number. But comparing against breweries per capita numbers from 2010, it would only move Indiana to 17th on the list, just behind Iowa. Iowa.
So there is room for growth. Two Deep Brewing Company believes so. We believe that good beer will (in most cases) survive. We contacted the gentlemen behind the effort to see how they plan to make their mark.
Who’s involved with this effort? What's your background? Why are you opening a brewery?
Myself, Andy Meyer, along with my step-brother, Chris Hoyt as official partners in the business. I got into homebrewing while living in Chicago (relocated back to Indy about a year and a half ago) about 6 to 7 years ago and simply fell in love with craft beer. I would read any every book I could get my hands on regarding brewing and beer, and had a few of them finished long before I ever boiled my first pot of wort. The interesting thing to note is that I don’t think I ever finished a full novel while I was in school…haha. I was simply on a quest (subconsciously) to soak up as much knowledge as I could about anything that related to brewing. I enjoy the brewing process - even though the majority of the time is spent cleaning – and love the methods and procedures behind it. For me, I get the greatest satisfaction when I am able to take these raw ingredients that really share no commonality (outside of being in beer) and am able to manage them in a strict set of processes which then produces (what I hope to be) some great tasting beer. It’s a very humbling experience when you are able to create something from scratch and people actually enjoy it.
I kind of pulled Chris into this whole adventure a few years ago on when I was progressing through my brewing experience. It seemed like every other month I was wanting to somehow take this art form to the next level, whether coming up with crazy recipes, trying different styles or building out bigger and better equipment. When I decided to move up to a Brutus system, I convinced him to come up to Chicago and help me build it. From that point on, he was really hooked and has been an integral part ever since. Professionally, I come from a media company as a regional account director. Chris is in management within the telecommunications industry.
From the beginning, I knew I wanted to have a career in brewing, some way, somehow. I enrolled in coursework at Seibel and did whatever I could to further my knowledge of the craft while maintaining a family and full time job. Once we moved back to Indy, the bug really bit hard and I started working on this endeavor at any free moment I had. I started hitting the business plan hard right in the midst of when People’s Brewing started up and when Sun King was really taking off. Those two alone kept fueling the passion to keep my dream alive. We are really starting the brewery because of the passion that we have for the craft. We honestly love making beer and having the ability to share our passion with others one pint at a time. Having traveled throughout the upper Northwest, Colorado, San Diego, etc. there are so many cities out there with a thriving craft brewing culture. If we can even take a fraction of what is being done elsewhere and combine it with Indy’s Midwest hospitality, I really think we can put Indianapolis on the proverbial craft beer map and create a unique and desirable community for the craft beer industry. This industry segment is unlike any other out there. Craft brewers are collaborative, have a strong camaraderie, sincere passion and high level of ethics for the business.
In an effort to share our passion with Indianapolis, in and out of the glass, we want to create a destination for craft beer drinkers of all levels and would-be craft beer drinkers. Not only will we be a production facility but our tap room will be a place for people to come and experience craft beer as it was meant to be…straight from the tap. We want to do our part in helping educate the people of Indiana that they do have choices, that there are flavorful beers out there and help grow the industry here in the state and throughout. As I had last seen, craft beer sales only account for 1.25% of the total beer sales in the state. As a group, we have a lot of work to do and a lot of ground to cover.
Where will Two Deep be located?
We will be moving into the 1st floor space at 501 Madison Ave (the old Chateau Thomas Winery building). We fell in love with the historical ambiance of the building and felt that it was a great place to help continue the growth of the craft beer community within Indianapolis. We are convenient to downtown and within walking distance of attractions, parking, etc.
When are you hoping to open?
Our go-live date for operations is mid December and public open date within the first week of January 2012.
What's different about Two Deep from other Indiana brewery efforts? Do you have any concerns about opening in what's becoming a very competitive market?
I think one of the biggest things that makes us different is our location and the proximity to so many different things within the city. We are right next to Lilly, minutes by foot from the circle and office buildings and very close to sporting outlets (Lucas Oil, Conseco, etc.). Inside the building though, we are focusing much of our efforts on designing a destination for people, not just a grab & go. We love what a lot of the other breweries throughout Indy have been doing and we want to continue on the path while we create an establishment We want people to come and hang out at the brewery, enjoy a pint or two after work, on the weekend or before you are heading into a Colts game. We want people to see, smell and experience a brewery in production. We want people to make this a place where they can come to socialize with fellow craft beer fans without having 30+ TV’s blaring in the background. Some evenings, we will highlight local Indy artists on an acoustical set to help set the mood and give people a relaxing environment to hangout in. We also have plans to phase in a Brew On Premise section for people to really get their hands dirty. If you are a homebrewer wanting to not deal with the mess or someone who has never done it before, you can make your very own in an actual working brewery. This all stems from our passion of brewing and our desire to share it with everyone.
As for competition, we think the more craft breweries the better. As mentioned, Indiana craft beer sales account for just over 1% which means we can only go up from here. The more there is to offer, the more we can accomplish in educating consumers about craft beer and steer them away from the “yellow fizzy beer”. We understand that at the end of the day it is about our beer being sold vs. another but the overall goal is to grow the segment within the beer industry as a group.
What's your plan for the beer (styles, packaging, that sort of thing)?
Our beer roster as of right now consists of four year round styles with additional semi-year round styles:
19 Days Maibock - Draft, Growlers, tap room pints
Brickhouse Amercian Amber - Draft, Growlers, tap room pints
Fun with Pils Dortmunder/Munich Helles - Draft, Growlers, tap room pints
Kunkelweizen Dunkelweizen - Draft, Growlers, tap room pints
In Your Jeans Cream Ale - Draft, Growlers, tap room pints, 6-pack to-go
Jolly Old Stout Milk/Sweet Stout - Draft, Growlers, tap room pints, 6-pack to-go
(Un-named) IPA - Draft, Growlers, tap room pints, 6-pack to-go
Jenny Wheat Belgian Wit - Draft, Growlers, tap room pints, 6-pack to-go
(Un-named) American Pale Ale - Draft, Growlers, tap room pints, 6-pack to-go
Initially, our wholesale distribution will only consist of draft kegs (1/2 and 1/6 bbl) with the phasing in of bottling/canning over years 2 to 3. At the brewery, you will be able to get our beers for consumption on-site via pints as well as to-go packaging (growlers, kegs, 6-packs)
What are your short and long term goals?
Short term – to get our name out there. Haha We would like to be upwards of 640 bbl production for the first year and continue a steady growth of about 15% to 20% year over year. If we can have a little magic dust sprinkled on us from Sun King and Flat 12 to foster even bigger growth, we’re all game! Long term, one thing outside of personal brewery growth and name recognition throughout Indiana (2 to 5 year mark), is that we would like to help establish a beer district and work with other breweries in the city/region for incoming tourism. People go to other states/cities to visit breweries, why not do the same here. Indy is a great city for attracting tourism via different outlets (sports, conventions, etc) therefore we would like to create an arm within the tourism bureau by working with the Brewers Guild and organizations such as yourself to highlight Indiana breweries for visitors both inside and outside of the state.
Can you tell me about the kickstarter thing? How's that work and why did you decide to go that route?
We wanted to utilize an outlet for part of our funding needs in an effort to let anyone and everyone “be a part of” our startup. We researched many different social media outlets and felt kickstarter was the safest and most reasonable place to do it.
The way Kickstarter works is that we upload a “project” to the site (starting TwoDeep Brewing Co) and then provide a video, pics and narrative about what we are doing as well as a proposed amount of money we want to raise. It is then open to anyone and everyone for donating, as Kickstarter calls it, “backers.” We developed a list of various “backer” levels – everything from $1 to $2,000 – which then the backer is rewarded certain things based on the level (i.e. $500 level gets you a Growler gift set – growler with 4 pint glasses – a TwoDeep brewers work shirt, growler fills twice a month for a year and the Brewmasters size taster). The catch to it all and driving force behind the concept is that if we don’t hit our pledged goal by the end date, we do not get any of the money and our current backers do not get any of the rewards. Its up to both sides to keep the project going so that it can be successful for everyone.
Kickstarter creates a safe environment for all parties involved and we don’t have to worry about physically transacting any donated money as it is run through Amazon.com. At the same time, we wanted to use this outlet as a means of spreading our brand message and allowing the public to see who we are – just regular people who love craft beer! It also allows us to get some swag and other branded material into people’s hands in hopes that it helps foster conversations about TwoDeep and continues the word-of-mouth effect. We felt like this was a great way to let people connect with the starting of a brewery. While we could sit here and sell shares of stock one by one to every other person, that’s not what we are about and neither are the people who are seeking great craft beer. We truly want the community to a part of what we are doing and this avenue provided a win-win for everyone (as long as we hit our goal).
1 Black Swan, Cutters, Thr3e Wise Men, Three Pints, and Just Brew It
2 Bare Hands, Fountain Square, Four Horsemen, Triton, Twisted Crew, Black Acre, Danny Boy, Das Big Dawg , Helvetia, and a Fort Wayne location of Granite City
3 Blue Republic, Heorot, Mobrecki, Bull Dog, and Traders Point
4 The sound you just heard was 16 new brewers realizing the market is about to be a lot more saturated than they thought it was.