22 Nov Another business brewing in Griffith
GRIFFITH — The town will likely see two new craft breweries by next summer, pending Town Council approval.
The Board of Zoning Appeals approved a special-use variance for the two buildings at 121 E. Main St. for New Oberpfalz Brewing. The rear building on the property will be used to brew the beer, and the front, 1,800-square-foot building will be used as a 50-seat bar and tasting room, large cooler and small kitchen, though the menu won’t be extensive, said brewery owner Gus Lehnerer.
“I don’t think anyone will visit us for dinner, unless they’re drinking it,” said Lehnerer, of Munster.
Board member Carl Kus asked Lehnerer what his projected output of beer will be; Lehnerer said he expects to max out at 1,000 barrels per year.
Unlike the first brewery to come to Griffith — Pokro Brewing Co. Inc. at 311 N. Broad St. — no one present at the meeting remonstrated against New Oberpfalz. Larry Gradek, who owns G&G Hobbies at 105 E. Main St., welcomed the microbrewery with open arms.
“We could use a new business, especially on that side of town,” he said.
New Oberpfalz Brewing’s special-use variance will likely go before the Town Council at its Dec. 3 meeting. If approved, Lehnerer will need to wait for his site plans to be approved by the state, and then he’ll start construction.
If all goes as planned, Lehnerer could be opened for business by April, he said.
The third craft brewer, Dave Dejong of Schererville, signed a lease Thursday for a 6,600-square-foot brewery and pub at 1104 E. Main St., said Town Council Vice President Rick Ryfa, R-3. Although Dejong is leasing the property for Wildrose Brewing Co. — a venture he and three other neighbors on his block are undertaking — he will go before the zoning board in January and hopes to have his venture going by late spring.
“We’ve been talking to craft brewers for several years,” Ryfa said. “This is the type of industry that feeds off each other. People will drive 15 minutes, a half hour, an hour to visit breweries, so if we have three, they’ll help each other out.”