Indiana Brewery Names by the Numbers, Part 1

Indiana Brewery Names by the Numbers, Part 1

by Mark E. Lasbury for Indiana On Tap

Everyone loves a good story. Even more, everyone loves a good story that puts them on the inside, sort of in-the-know about something they care about. I have a warm place in my heart for Indiana history, especially the stories of the people and places. It gives me a good feeling to travel around and see buildings or locations and know the stories of how they came about, who was important in their story and how they have made Indiana what it is.

The story of a craft brewery name is similar, in that if you know the story of a craft brewery, it helps build the relationship between you and that brewery. This is why we spent time recently talking about how much work breweries go through to come up with a good name, something that conveys the message they want, and is connected to their overall story – why they want to be your brewery.

To start our series on the stories behind Indiana brewery names, we might divide the breweries into some arbitrary groups. Colors, place names, animals, …. there are unlimited groupings we could derive, each just as meaningless as the next. But humans love to group and categorize, so I’ll humor everyone and start with breweries that have numbers in their names, either as numerals the words representing the numbers.

Convention says not to use numbers in your business name – convention says that it confuses people. Numbers are supposed to particularly hard to remember because they are abstract, not something you can easily tag for your memory, unless it happens to be the same as your address or your hat size. That convention guy is a downer; here’s a bunch of Indiana breweries that are making it work; some have been around for a long time, some aren’t even open yet, but since we’re going to talk about their stories, you’ll now know something that will help you remember their names. You’ll understand the breweries better and history says that knowing them better will make you more apt to support them.

10-56 Brewing in Knox – Erica & Mike Hemphill began the process of bring a brewery to life in 2014, but their name has more to do with the husband than the wife. Mike was an Indiana State Police officer for many years (now retired at Master Trooper rank). So here we have two very different activities, policing and brewing, and yet they come together in the form of 10-56.

There is a popular American Ale yeast strain from Wyeast called 1056. Sold by several outlets, this strain is an American  In truth, 1056 was the first yeast strain that Erica used to make a 10-56 beer (probably the Motor Patrol Porter), yet the yeast and the brewery name are just a happy coincidence.

In truth, the name has everything to do with Mike’s previous vocation. The last ten years of Mike’s career with ISP were on a motorcycle, so the logo of the brewery was adapted from the very recognizable winged motorcycle wheel, “No sir, that’s not for the Detroit Red Wings.” Anywhere you go, law enforcement officers or those close to them will recognize this image as the symbol of the motorcycle cop. The light bulb goes off and some patrons realize what 10-56 really means.

Police radios are set up in code – this particular number means that particular problem. Well, 10-56 is the police code for a intoxicated pedestrian, according to the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) 10 codes. It was the ultimate inside joke to use it as a brewery name. I guess it isn’t something you actually hope for, people leave your establishment as inebriated pedestrians, but that’s much better than driving I guess.

18th Street Brewery in Hammond & Gary– Owner/brewer Drew Fox is from Chicago, but has lived part a good part of his life northwest Indiana. He had a great job in Chicago as a food & beverage manager at a swanky hotel and his kids could good to a great, but affordable, school in Indiana. Life was good. Then craft beer struck.

On one of his business trips, he ended up around the corner from his Bruges, Belgium hotel, drinking an unfiltered wheat that opened his eyes to what beer could be. Returning to Chicago, started to read about home brewing and making his own beer. He asked to help out at Pipeworks first on the packaging line and then brewing, eventually brewing some of his own beer there. This eventually led to owning and brewing at a brewery in Gary, IN, but that first brewery was nowhere near any 18th Street. So how did the brewery get this name?

At an earlier point in time, Drew and his wife Hanna were living in the Pilsen section of Chicago (just northwest of Chinatown) when they considered opening a bar there – on 18th Street. But the local alderman was not hot for the idea, and made things very difficult. When the bar idea turned out to be untenable because of this interference, Drew decided, “Fine, we’re taking the name with us.”

Later, when the idea of the brewery was taking shape, it was always Drew’s intent to locate the business in Gary. He told Beer Advocate in 2017, “I lived there at the time, and I really wanted people to know that craft beer has no boundaries. Chicago would have been taking the easy route, for me. We believed in the [Gary] community, and people saw the positive force behind what we were doing. Customers saw we were pushing the envelope. We came in with that swagger, and people knew what’s up, that we were not going anywhere.”

So that’s how a city without an 18th Street – Gary has an 18th Avenue, but not an 18th Street – ended up with a brewery with that name. Hammond, the other location for 18th Street, has a lot of numbered streets, but nothing near 18th, they have a 178th Street, but stop before 180th, so they can’t even come within a factor of ten. I wonder how many people get lost looking for the brewery or brewpub because they think it has to be on 18th Street?

Three brewery names that are on point. There are also breweries that have names that mean pretty close to exactly what they say, with little interpretation necessary – and those that didn’t get back to mean about their story name. Here are a few of those names. We’ll continue the number brewery name stories next time; there are still some very interesting tales to go.

Three Floyds Brewing in Munster – This wildly successful brewery was started in Hammond in 1996, and then moved to Munster in 2000. Their climb was slow at first, but their brash attitude, recipes, and labels moved them to cult status, and then to the top rated brewery in the world for several years in the early 2010s.

The name of the brewery isn’t really that clever, two brothers and their father started the brewery whose name is Floyd. Since Floyd could either be a first or last name, I bet many people people have assumed that the brewery was started by three guys name Floyd, maybe Floyd Mayweather, Floyd the barber, and Floyd Pepper (the bass player in the muppet band Electric Mayhem).

The real Floyds are father Mike, and brothers Nick and Simon. Mike is a retired physician who practiced clinical and surgical nephrology and once transplanted a kidney into then Philippine president Ferdinand Marcos. Brother Simon is a trained chef who now is the executive chef at a restaurant in Merrillville, and probably had much to do with the opening of the Three Floyds brewpub next to the brewery in 2005. Finally, brother Nick is a Seibel Institute-trained brewer who started home brewing while he was still in high school. He is the heart of the brewery and develops the recipes.

One interesting thing about the name Three Floyds is that the brewery seems to move back and forth between “Three Floyds” and “3 Floyds.” Much of their packaging uses the ”three,” while most of their stickers and their website use the “3.” I am guessing that since labels and packaging must be approved by TTB, they must use the legal name, so “three” is probably more proper. Finally, the three items on the FFF logo image crown – most probably they are old versions of brewing tools; a malt shovel, a mash paddle, and a sampling cup.

95ate5 Brew Pub in St. John– Family Jack, Beverly, and son Bill Mix opened this brewpub just up the road from St. John Malt Brothers in 2015, just after SJMB itself opened. The name is a double entendre with their location and their business type. Their address is 9585 N. Industrial Blvd. in St. John, so using the numbers and replacing the “8” with its homophone “ate” certainly gets that point across. The other meaning that comes across by using the “ate” is that this is a brewpub that stresses food and is a full service catering company.

450 North Brewing in the northeast of Columbus – This brewpub is located on state road 450 North in Bartholomew County out in the middle of nowhere. That’s about it.

Only eleven more breweries with numbers in their names left to discuss, including one that may not mean what the owners thought it meant.

banner image credit: Hoosier Econ

  • JL Edmund
    Posted at 18:59h, 13 January Reply

    Waiting on the Flat 12 explanation.

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