October is a Heck of a Month for Brewery Openings, Especially in 2019

October is a Heck of a Month for Brewery Openings, Especially in 2019

by Mark E. Lasbury for Indiana On Tap

Last week we talked about six breweries that are getting ready to open, hopefully all to be here in the next three months. As we have discussed before, very few breweries meet their second or third projected opening date, so saying which breweries will be open when is like trying to teach a pig to sing.

However, the list I am presenting isn’t a first or second projection list, it much more like represents third and fourth projection list. Yet, many of the openings are looking to occur in October is amazing. Nine of the thirteen breweries we are profiling in these two pieces will more than likely open in October. That makes October a big opening month, as it was before this year. October has had the second most openings of any single month of the year, second only to June, and October is only second because of June 2019, when no fewer than five breweries opened.

Therefore, by the end of October 2019, it’s likely that the tenth month will once again be first in the list, with as many as 27 openings in that single 31 day period. So why is October such a fecund month when it comes to Indiana brewery openings? I have no idea. It could be that people shoot for a January opening and just get backed up to October – unlikely, but it might account for why January is a month with one of the lowest number of openings. January is a typically poor month for beer sales, so I don’t know if a lot of people would be targeting that month for an opening, unless they were hoping for a slow run up to get the kinks out.

The fall is by far the most popular time to open a restaurant, perhaps to get things running smoothly by holiday season. Are restaurant openings and brewery openings so similar that this explains why fall, and October in particular, is a big month for openings? Probably not, the number of inspections and permits for a brewery is greater than for a restaurant, and if it’s a brewpub, there’s probably no comparison at all. It’s likely that the amount of time between a projection for an opening and the actual opening is longer for a brewery.

Whatever the case, we’re about to get a huge heap of new breweries in the coming month or two. Here are the ones we’ve identified south of Indianapolis.

Black Dog Brewing – Mooresville will be getting their first craft brewery this fall, with Black Dog now planning on opening in late October at 11230 Highway Indiana 67. The brewery is planning on opening in phases, with phase 1 being a production brewery with a small tasting room for pints and growler fills. Phase 2 will be a build out for a bigger taproom with many more amenities, and who knows that is after that. Rest assured, you will be able to drink on site when they open.

Head Brewer Shawn Byrnes (of Upland, Lexington Avenue, and Bent Rail fame) is planning to have six beers on tap at the open, from a blonde to an amber, to a couple seasonals, though they will have the Kuntz’s Old German Lager out as soon as they can. This is a beer dear to owner Jeremy Kuntz (see the last name there?). Jeremy’s ancestry goes back to the original Kuntz Brewery in Ontario, Canada. The fact that Labatt’s now owns the Kuntz name is the only reason that this brewery isn’t called Kuntz Brewery. Nobody shoots for getting sued in their first month of operation. (UPDATE: Jeremy tells us that the Kuntz’s Old German Lager trademark has been obtained from Labatt’s, so it’s back in the family now.)

Carbon Brewing – Adam Evinger tells me that the brewery will definitely be open by the end of 2019. Carbon Brewing is located in Carbon, IN west of Greencastle and north of Brazil in the west central part of the state, filling the beer desert that was formed when Bee Creek closed back in 2012.

The Evingers have been home brewing for literally decades, and have the hardware to prove that they do it well, but getting from there to a commercial brewery has been a task at the least. Being rural, they needed a three phase electrical hookup to be put in to use their first choice of an electric kettle. They had it worked out with another business to split the cost of installation, but that business fell through, leaving them on the hook for $200,000 of payments if they wanted to do it alone.

They investigated everything from wind power to solar (like Big Thorn Farm & Brewery in Georgetown, IL), but nothing panned out. They ended up with a steam jacketed brewhouse with several fermenters, but it has taken much longer because of the set backs. Besides the power issues, getting enough water from their well to run the brewery and then having proper drainage to get rid of the water have also been problems they have had to solve.

First they will be selling the beer at their restaurant in Stilesville, just east of Greencastle, and then push them out to other bars and restaurants. Later in the game they will be opening a taproom of their own.

Eight One Two Farms Brewery – Aaron Harden is doing all the work on the brewery himself (with friends), he says the progress is slow, but sure. The brewery and event center south of Columbus could be open by the end of 2019. He recently took ownership of a walk in cooler and plumbed his building, so yes, he’s working through the process. That doesn’t mean that it hasn’t been interesting – with a set back or two.

For instance, there was that day that they arrived on site to see a broken garage door. Inside they found their 1 bbl kettle, mash tun, hot liquor tank, and a bunch of stainless and copper missing. They left the kegs – apparently they aren’t as easy to sell. But as winners do, Aaron doubled down and ended up with a 2bbl system. It was all due to a lucky conversation about the theft within earshot of a guy and his wife – she wanted his 2 bbl system that wasn’t being used out of her house.

With that bit of good fortune, Aaron is now forging ahead on a brewery and restaurant to utilize the bounty grown by the existing family farm. Hops and produce will be used in the food and beer, linking the land to the farm, the farm to the brewery, and the brewery to all of us. Look for the brewery to open first, followed by the restaurant and an event center soon after.

Feed Store Beer Co. – Bloomfield is getting their own brewery at 750 W. Main St. here in the next couple of months. Steve and Stacey Corbin are converting a previous gas station/feed store to a brewery/taproom, and that has come with some issues all its own. The tanks had been removed 20 years ago, but there was contamination of the soil that had to be remediated prior to their loan coming through and of course before they could do the build out and get inspections.

They had a brewhouse and their SBA loan by early this year, and have been putting in a lot of sweat equity. They have put in the bar and a deck and are getting ready to start pouring beer. On Oct. 5 they will be doing a beer tent at the brewery, and that will probably be their last event before the opening of the taproom by the end of the year.

Fish Moon Brewing – Rushville invested in a yearly craft beer festival starting in 2018 in order to bring a brewery to town, and now it looks like it’s going to pay off. Thomas Tetrault is working on the build out now for Fish Moon Brewing in the old Taff Building right downtown (309 N. Main Street), and is hoping to be open this winter.

Fish Moon will eventually be a brewpub, but they may choose to open in stages, with the taproom first and the restaurant following in a few months. Thomas has been home brewing for several years, and his 5 bbl system for the brewpub is very similar to his home brew set up. It’s a one vessel system and he will have at least four 5 bbl fermenters in wish to produce what he calls, “Great, fresh, drinkable beers.”

The name comes from a mash up of interests from Thomas and his wife. He loves fishing, and his wife is always been fascinated by the moon. In fact, their daughter’s name is Luna, so this is all about bringing the family vibe to the enterprise. Their recent move back to Rushville means that the city is now part of their extended family, and Thomas is hoping that the brewpub, “Becomes a place of community for Rushville and something they love. I really want to support as many local causes as I can and part of that plan will be to brew a special beer each month with part of the proceeds towards a local charity. I really feel that Rushville is leading the way in rural development and I want to be a part of bringing the downtown back to life.”

Hoosier Brewing – An October opening is planned for this unique spot in Greenwood (147 S. Madison Avenue). The location will be called Tap & Axe because they will also be having axe throwing lanes next to the taproom and restaurant. The lanes are in and the brewery is brewing beer, so the next thing is to get the limited menu set and, eventually, bring in the distillery equipment.

Look for a small core beer lineup and a bunch of ever changing small batch brews and can releases from this brewery that is looking to be innovative in more than just their in house activities. On site release parties will be held at regular intervals and will feature a hazy series and other styles.

Our Lady of Perpetual Hops – The New Albany area is getting another brewery in the next few weeks. Kyle Richmer, Tanner and Greg Wortham, and Rob Pappas have been working hard for more than a couple of years to get this brewery up and running. Located at 300 Foundation Court, this location is industrial and will serve them well as they acquire capital to open their full scale brewpub on 10 acres of land in Floyds Knobs.

The current location will have 10,000 sq. ft. of taproom and brew house space, containing their 7 bbl kettle and four 7 bbl fermenters, plus the taproom with corn hole, live music space and darts. Kyle will be brewing the beer with the help of Tanner, and they look to brew beers that interest drinkers. That means both to style beers and more experimental beers. Kyle says he never met anything he wouldn’t consider putting in a beer and it should all, “just taste good.”

They’re still working on getting a couple of inspections, so with luck they should be open in a couple of weeks – if unlucky, then perhaps 5-6 weeks. We all know how that goes. Visit Our Lady of Perpetual Hops (named similarly to a local church of which some are members), they look to be big on atmosphere – a place to spend an afternoon or evening, not just pop in for a single drink.

Conclusion. These are the breweries (last week and this) that have a great chance at opening in 2019, but that doesn’t mean they are the only breweries on the horizon. Keep your eyes out for names like: Yard Goat Artisan Ales in Huntingburg, Dot & Line Brewing in Fort Wayne, Seven Crows Brewing in Greensburg, Tarnished Hollow Brewing in Anderson, Broken Barrel Brewing in New Haven, Maxson’s & Me in Lafayette, HoosierBoy Smokehouse & Brew in Portland, Parlor City Brewing in Bluffton, Greenbush Small Batch Brewing in South Bend, and Tip-A-Canoe Brews in Rochester. If you know of other breweries in planning, please let us know. We’re privileged in Indiana to have a large number of craft breweries to choose from. No matter what part of the state you live in, there are breweries there and even more coming. No that you know who is coming to your neighborhood, be a good craft beer fan and get out there to support them.

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