News from the Breweries: Beers, Babies, Beasts, and Big Events

News from the Breweries: Beers, Babies, Beasts, and Big Events

by Mark E. Lasbury for Indiana On Tap

Most craft breweries in Indiana are recognizing that marketing opportunities are available in many forms, but the key is to market where it does the most good and is most affordable. A brewery needs to market itself in such a way that people are enticed to their taproom, to buy their products in bars and package stores, or to visit an event in which they will be participating. Money spent on marketing that doesn’t achieve these ends is wasted.

Attending festivals is one way to market a brewery. Introducing your brand and product to an extended audience is important, but only if there is a decent chance that it will lead to future sales, either in the taproom or in distribution. Craft beer tourism is on the rise, but a brewery can’t count on that to cover the cost of attending a festival (travel, labor, beer, swag, etc.) and pay off in additional sales down the road.

That’s why breweries most often stick to festivals close to home; there’s much more chance that the marketing will pay off in the future. But if a brewery is at a festival, they should use that opportunity to do as much marketing as possible. Giving away swag that will out live the experience and talking to the attendees speaks just as much for the brewery as the beer samples do are ways to do that. Then again, there is also information that can be imparted to festival-goers about news of the brewery or events, beer releases, or other things that might draw patrons to a brewery’s location or to where their products will be.

A good way to get news is to ask the people pouring your beer. image credit: New York by Rail

Nowadays you will see breweries advertising their events on their beer board at a festival, or have printed information that attendees can take with them. It’s a two-fer, they get to reach them with their beer at that moment and perhaps bring them to an event or beer release in the future. Anything that makes a brand stick in a person’s mind is good, and adding these to their festival gear means they do it at no or little added cost.

However, it isn’t all on the brewery – attendees can ask about what’s going on at the brewery and the events which they have coming up. That’s what Walter and I do; you won’t believe what you can learn when you ask – everything from babies on the way to expansions to special projects. Here are the nuggets from our weekend exploits.

Auburn Brewing: Sparkplug, Auburn Brewing’s beer for the Hoosier Buddy Suicide Prevention Project, will be tapped next week. Sparkplug is a white stout, perfect for the fall. Plus, the upcoming Dekalb County Free Fall Fair (23rd-28th) will be just down the block from Auburn Brewing, so they will have extended hours all week. Usually they open Wednesday each week, but they will be open until 10pm on Monday and Tuesday during the fair.

Bad Dad Brewing: Bad Dad’s relationship with Monon Beverage Brokers is going very well, bringing Bad Dad beer closer to Indianapolis. Look for more beers coming from Bad Dad, with those familiar Bad Dad names – Pull My Finger APA, You’re Grounded coffee milk stout, and Are You Kitten Me hefeweizen.

Also, look for the James Dean Days Concert at Bad Dad on Sept. 28th during the James Dean Festival. There will be lots of 1950s clothes and cars in town, with the concert will be 5:30-midnight in the parking lot of Bad Dad. The brewery will serve pizza and beer inside and in the beer garden during the show.

image credit: Bier Brewery

Bier Brewery: The Annual Pumpkin Ale Release Party is coming up on Friday, Sept. 13th at the taproom on E. 65th St in Indy. There will be live music, food vendors, fire pits, games, crafts and beer tappings in addition to the multi-award winning Pumpkin Ale. Sanitarium, Hator Dopplbock, Barleywhine and others will be available all evening long at this family friendly event.

Books & Brews – South Indy/Broad Ripple: These two franchises in the Books & Brews family now have new ownership. Kevin Fechtman has taken over both locations and has quickly made his presence known. There are new jukeboxes, and a screen at South Indy for UIndy sports viewing parties. Next week (Sept. 16-22) is Mug Club Appreciation Week, with $50 lifetime mugs, 20% off merch., $3.25 mug fills Mon-Thurs, 20% off bombers, and an additional $1 of 6-packs.

Burn ‘Em Brewing: The guys from Michigan City report that the new Bare Bones Gastropub in LaPorte is doing very well. Walter and I need to get up there to try the jackfruit tacos, the golden beet poke, and the Chicken n’ a biscuit.

As for the Michigan City location, the Collective Artisan Market is coming up soon (15th). Held on the grounds of the brewery, there is room for more than 75 vendors of hand crafted, recycled, and up cycled products. There will also be live music from Robert Rolfe Feddersen and food vendors.

image credit: Chapman’s Brewing

Chapman’s Brewing: Jarrod and the guys had some trouble in the brew house a couple weeks ago, but the boiler is fixed now and the brewing is back on track. Luckily, they had a lot of beer in the bank, so Chapman’s patrons haven’t really seen a change.

As far as events coming up, Chapman’s is a bit different because they have so many taprooms, each with it’s own schedule of entertainments and activities. But never fear, if you check the events page on the Chapman’s Brewing Facebook page, you can see the upcoming events for all of the offsite taprooms.

Fortlandia Brewing: While they may be new, they’ve got the festival routine down. A nice, easily read beer board draws people in, and letting the people know the price for T-shirts and other merchandise on the board does two things; 1) lets people know you have merchandise for sale from a distance and draws them in, and 2) speeds up transactions.

The first month of the taproom being open has been a good one for the guys at Fortlandia. So many different kinds of beer, each a specialty of one of the brewers/owners. It’s not often you see a brewery with two bocks, a dreamsicle, a Scottish Strong, and an American Strong on at the same time.

Four Day Ray Brewing: FDR has a new 80 barrel fermenter in place now, ready to take on the demand for the Blood Orange Blonde. Apparently the fermenter’s name is Roberto. Elsewhere, look for FDR to start keg distribution further out from Fishers, especially in Bloomington. It may be kegs at first, but might expand from there.

Goshen Brewing puts their events on their beer board at festivals. image credit: Walter

Goshen Brewing: Jesse and Amanda are doing a good job of getting their story out to people during festivals. They often serve beers from the Winona Bike Works cycle with the Goshen Brewing logo. It’s a bike with a place for a sixtel keg. It makes it plain that Goshen likes cycling.

In addition, their beer board for festivals has enough room that they can add events going on in the near future. This weekend we saw notices for their Oktoberfest on the 28th with four bands, and a concert by Strand of Oaks on the 21st.

HopLore Brewing: There’s lots going on at HopLore in Leesburg and in Warsaw. The production brewery and taproom coming to Warsaw is now in the build out stage and they already have a brewhouse ready to go in there. It’s nice that the owners of the building are doing the build out, it takes one thing off Joe and Stefan’s plates.

Both Stefan and Joe are getting ready to celebrate birthdays, so they thought they should bring out some barrel-aged beers to mark the occasion on the 28th. Amish Krack just came out of some George Washington rye whiskey barrels and The Dude Provides has come out of some rye whiskey barrels too. They will bring out the 2018 BA Anniversary ale from 2018 and the BA Indiana Peacock, as well as a couple of guest barrel-aged beers.

Meet Bowser, the bow tie wearing Jack Russell. image credit: Laura Larsen

Junk Ditch Brewing: Todd explained that the Belgian Dubbel called Bow Tie is made with locally raised figs from Country Gardens in Roanoke, and it’s a great beer – but there’s another interesting part. The beer is named for his girlfriend Laura’s Jack Russell Terrier – Bowser. He’s a bit of a clothes horse and goes around in a bow tie nearly all day, except when lounging at home where he prefers an ascot.

In other news, look for more beers to come out from Junk Ditch now that Todd has more help in the brewhouse, and Tsar Bomba might be making an appearance soon in bottles. Beyond that, I just have to pick Todd’s brain now so he can school me on the differences in pouring beers from a jockey box with a coil versus one with a plate.

Kekionga Cider: Procuring bigger tanks and starting to ferment a lot more cider aren’t the only ways that Kekionga Cider in Fort Wayne are growing. Co-founder Tyler Butcher and his wife are expecting a child in October. Maybe they can toast the birth with a cup of mulled cider – their warm spiced cider and donuts event will be coming up just about that time. The donuts will be made with their ciders and the warm cider will be the Monroe Harvest; the 2019 version was released just this past weekend.

Kopacetic Beer Factory: We’re in the K’s and I guess that stands for kids. Kopacetic Beer Factory founder and brewery Sean Manahan and his wife are expecting their second child. Since their first child is named Porter, Sean said it would be good if people started suggesting beer themed names for the coming bundle of joy – we need boy and girl offerings. Walter is suggesting Amber if a girl and Tri-clamp if a boy – I’m a little worried about her.

The baby isn’t due for a while, which is good because Sean needs some rest. The recent Brews Cruise was a success but was a lot of work, and the Factory’s Montoberfest is coming up on the 21st; then Sean’s taking a solid nap.

image credit: LaOtto Brewing

LaOtto Brewing: Josh Brames and friends put on a brunch on the first and third Sunday each month from 11am – 2pm. Interesting entrees along with LaOtto brews are the talk of the northeast. When discussing the brunch with the brewery personnel, I had no fewer than three festival attendees remark that this is the best brunch around. Apparently lots of people are going. And LaOtto did it right by having printed reminders that people could take with them.

Off Square Brewing: The big news at Off Square is the inaugural Beer, Bacon, and Bourbon Festival at Bulldog Park in Crown Point. Tickets can be found here, and gets you unlimited samples of 30+ bourbons and whiskeys, 100+ craft beers from a plethora of local breweries, bands, and food trucks. The weather is looking to be great, so pick up a ticket to check out the festival and the new park.

Ruhe152: A lot has been going on in Nappanee at Ruhe152 lately. David put together the Hoosier Buddy Project where breweries across the state made beers to promote discussion about suicide awareness. In furtherance of this project, they will be hosting a growler filling event in their larger event space. Other breweries that made Hoosier Buddy beers may be there too, and they’ll have mental health professionals on hand to discuss and answer questions.

Taxman Brewing: The fifth Taxmaniversary is coming up soon, and five is an important number. So instead of having a one day of celebration, Taxman is doing nearly a week of events. There’s local trivia on Tuesday evening, the 17th, with first come first serve for seats. A beer dinner will be on Wednesday, the 18th with five Belgian-inspired dishes paired with Taxman beers.

image credit: Taxman Brewing

A tasting on Thursday the 19th will pair Taxman beers with the Belgian beers that inspired them. The Kill the Keg Competition is on Friday. the 20th, and the anniversary festival is on Saturday the 21st, in coordination with the Bargersville Harvest Moon Festival. Look for lambics to be debuted and several other special beers brought out. See the Taxman FB events page for all the details.

Teays River Brewing: This Lafayette brewpub has a couple of interesting events coming up. On Thursday (Sept. 12) evening from 6-9pm they will host a beer release as a fundraiser for the Ouiatenon Preserve. A portion of the sales of each of two benefit beers will be donated to the 220 acre archaeological and nature preserve. The beers are the Ouiatenon Preservation Harvest Ale with wet hops from the Pines Hop Farm in Westpoint, and the Croghan’s Treaty English Porter featuring Ye Olde, caramel, and chocolate malts from Sugar Creek Malt Co. in Lebanon.

The second event is on Saturday the 14th in Attica, IN. The Spirits in the Park event at McDonald’s Park only invites one brewery to participate each year and 2019’s invitee is Teays River. They will be joined by Old 55 Distillery and Hooker Corner Winery for this event.

South Bend Brew Works: August turned out to be a great month for Steve, Michele and the SBBW crew. Kitchen equipment problems were solved and people found them despite all the road work going on outside their front door. Those issues would have been enough to get others down, but SBBW patrons are a hearty bunch and they still came through to provide a great month for the Beer It Forward Program. Three charity partners and one rotating partner are displayed in the taproom and customers receive a token with which they decide where a donation from their pint purchase will go. In August, La Casa de Amistad received more than $1100 from this program in August, The Music Village garnered votes to the tune of $853, and the Neighborhood Resources Connection took in $657. The rotating partner, The Cassie Center, received a set amount/pint and received $497. Congratulations to the charities and to SBBW for continuing this great program.

The Vincennes Brewing Company: Two new co-owners have taken control of the brewing operations at Vincennes, working with original co-owners Charlie and Leah Bedwell. Tyler Simmons and Geoffrey Goodwin have been avid homebrewers and were the organizers of the First City Brewfest earlier this summer.

They have ordered a new glycol chiller and will start putting out beers very quickly, including some collaboration beers with other SW Indiana brewers. Look for an unveiling in October.

18th Street Brewing: The Indy taproom for 18th Street is still on, but now it looks like a winter opening, perhaps as late as March.

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