2021 Indiana Breweries by the Numbers – Openings and Closings

2021 Indiana Breweries by the Numbers – Openings and Closings

by Mark E. Lasbury for Indiana On Tap

Last year may have been chaotic for events, craft producers, and people in general, but it didn’t keep breweries from opening in Indiana. Eighteen new breweries in the state opened in 2021, located in most parts of the state. It was also a surprisingly positive year for brewery closings as well given the pandemic, with just five breweries closing in 2021. Here’s a discussion of the gained and lost across Indiana this past year.

As far as brewpubs were concerned, several opened in 2021 with great beer and great food. Fuzzyline Brewing in Highland opened to rave reviews of their beer list and menu, as did Klooz Brewz in Lebanon. Patrick at Klooz Brewz has really embraced his downtown area and has become quite active in Lebanon redevelopment. In Peru, 7 Pillars Brewing opened with beer and gourmet pizzas downtown, and Argos welcomed Fessors Brewing with their food partner, Dry Run Kitchen.

image credit: Klooz Brewz

A few new brewpubs opened in spots that previously had been home to other breweries. Brew Link – Downtown Indy opened where TwoDeep used to pour. They have all the great Brew Link beers and a full kitchen, and they do make beer on site. Brass Elk Brewing opened in Elkhart where Hydraulic Ale Works used to be, with some of the same owners, including the same brewer. Not too far away, Craig and Abby McLaren opened Ledgeview Brewing with BBQ in the old OrthoCity location.

Several other breweries opened in 2021 with taprooms and ways of getting food (not their own kitchen or a true food partner). Good-Rich Brewery in Portland opened in the third quarter of 2021, greatly reducing the size of the beer desert on the east side of the state. Over that same way, Gas City is home to Gas City Brewing, just north of Fairmount and Bad Dad Brewery – a good two-fer for a Saturday afternoon.

About half way through 2021, Knapptronix Brewing opened in Lafayette, joining the growing list of breweries in that town, while late in the year we had two breweries open up in Central Indiana and one open up north. HopLore Brewing- Market Street opened a production brewery and taproom in Warsaw, not far from Ledgeview, while SmockTown Brewery opened in Greenwood (within half a block from Hoosier and Planetary), and Tree City Brewing is the first craft brewery in Greensburg.

image credit: SmockTown Brewery

Two breweries opened without taprooms (yet). Afterburner Brewing in Terre Haute began selling in distribution around the city and south-central Indiana early in the year. They are now almost finished with their taproom buildout just one block south of Terre Haute Brewing Company, and the two of them are already planning a beer festival for 2022. Also, Logan Beerwerks in Logansport is selling pints within the Bonus Pints location in town, and at several other accounts, but has no immediate plans for a taproom of their own right now. Conversely, Blockhead Beerworks did open a brewpub this year, but they had actually been selling beer in distribution (mostly at the Tomato Bars) since 2020.

Finally, three out of state breweries wised up and starting brewing in the great state of Indiana. Monnik Brewing New Albany started brewing in the old New Albanian Brewing production facility very early in 2021, while Louisville neighbor Goodwood – Indy took over the old Ram Brewing location in downtown Indy about halfway through the year. Jerry Sutherlin is back in his old haunt, making beer now for Goodwood. Lastly, while Greenbush Brewing from Michigan has had a taproom in South Bend for over a year, they just tapped the first beer made on their South Bend system a couple of days before New Years!

Click for a bigger image of Indiana opening and closings for the last 30 years. image credit: Indiana On Tap

On the flipside of the coin, we did lose a few breweries last year. Terre Haute lost two small breweries, Old 41 in the 7th & Elm Restaurant, and the WaterTower Estates brewing portion of WaterTower Estates Winery. In Greencastle, Wasser Brewing closed, at least temporarily. There is a GoFundMe effort to help Chris Weeks open back up; we’ll keep you up to date on their progress. Rad Brewing in Indy closed in November, and just before the year ended, Carson’s Brewing in Evansville closed on New Year’s Eve after nine years of business.

Overall, the first month of 2022 sees Indiana with nearly 200 active breweries, having celebrated 18 openings and lamented five closings in the past year. The 2021 results were much better than those of 2020, when the state was underwater for only the second time, with 14 openings and 15 closings. 2004 was the only other year with more closings (4) than openings (3).

The next year looks to have a lot of activity as well, with upwards of 100 festivals in planning and at least ten new breweries looking to open. Let’s hope that we get lots of openings and no closings for 2022.

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