16 Jun Something New Is Brewing In Old Terre Haute
About a dozen cities in Indiana sport populations over 60,000. Only one of those cities—Terre Haute—does not have an active brewery, much to the chagrin of beer lovers west of Indianapolis. In fact, of the 176 existing or planned breweries, brewpubs, brew-on-premise locations and brewery tap houses in the Hoosier state, none are within 60 miles of Terre Haute. Well, thanks to Jeff Hock, that is about to change.
Welcome to the about-to-be resurrected Terre Haute Brewing Company.
I am exhausted. Why? I just spent 45 minutes sitting down with Jeff Hock. Let me rephrase that—I tried to sit down. Hock does not sit.
“This is gonna be so cool,” he gushes, darting around the 13,000-square-foot premises, answering phone calls, texting, and pointing out the skylights and beams and soon-to-be glass partitions. “We are going to open up all these boarded-up windows, put in all glass and brick and stainless steel. I want this to be the hottest place in town. Look at that old bar over there—so cool.”
Hock is excited to be tapping into the history of the THBC, which before Prohibition was the 7th largest brewery in the nation, employing over 900 people brewing, bottling, and distributing Champagne Velvet. “This entire block was part of the process.” Local entrepreneur Mike Rowe bought the building a few years back and brought Champagne Velvet back to life, eventually turning it over to Upland Brewery. He very much enjoyed the process, and is eager to get back into it.
Hock, from the New York area, moved to Terre Haute and opened the Bottle 41 Wine Shop. “I drove by this building one day and said to myself, I need to get in there and do something with that.” He hooked up with Rowe, hatched a plan, sold his wine shop, brought in some investors and a New York architect, and now owns the building. They have spent the last couple of days sitting around a hauntingly-lit table in the middle of the concrete floor hatching big plans. Hock will be the president/manager, and Rowe will be the brewmaster.
While nothing is yet set in stone, both men have big dreams. The building will be remodeled to include a 7000-square-foot tap room, with glass walls so the entire operation can be viewed. They hope to be running a 20-barrel operation and serving their first brews by the end of the year. They plan to start bottling 22-oz. bombers, and eventually other sizes and cans, and distribute first locally, and then as far as they can get.
“At first we plan on doing a light IPA, a brown ale, a bock, some kind of fruity beer, a mild but hoppy lager, and at least one other. This is something we talk about every night,” Hock excitedly offers. “I don’t see why every bar in town shouldn’t be serving a local beer of some kind.”
“I want coming to this place to be an event,” he tells me as we wind down. If his enthusiasm is any indicator, it’s going to happen. You can keep tabs on the progress by visiting their Facebook page.
If everything works out, I will be sitting down with Jeff Hock and Mike Rowe sometime before Christmas and enjoying something new in Terre Haute. I’ll keep you posted.