Indiana Far From Tapped Out on Craft Beer

Posted: Updated:
INDIANAPOLIS -

Despite a continued explosion of craft breweries throughout Indiana, the new president of Indianapolis-based Sun King Brewing Co. says he sees ample room for even more growth. "When you look at craft beer consumption in Indiana versus other states, we have tons and tons of opportunities," said Bob Whitt, who will become president of the state's second-largest brewer April 18. "In Portland, Oregon as an example, over 50 percent of the beer consumer there is craft, and we are way below that so, we have lots of options."

The growth of the craft beer movement in Indiana in recent years has been striking. In 2010, there were less than 40 breweries statewide. Today the number tops 120…and growing. The latest, Metazoa Brewing Company, held a grand opening for its downtown Indianapolis location April 1.

Sun King continues to do its part to contribute to Indiana’s burgeoning beer sector, which the Brewers of Indiana Guild estimates generates more than $1 billion in economic impact statewide.

The company recently launched distribution in northern Indiana, effectively expanding its footprint statewide. The nearly seven year-old brewer expects to produce about 45,000 barrels of beer this year, thanks to state legislation easing craft production limits. "That was a huge win for Sun King and Three Floyds and Upland, three of the largest brewers, but we've got a lot of smaller breweries who continue to grow because beer is the most popular adult beverage in the world," said Sun King co-founder and owner Clay Robinson.

As Robinson looks to grow Sun King into "Indiana's Beer," he's hired a president who is no stranger to the Indianapolis business community.

Whitt has served as executive director of White River State Park for the last nearly eleven years and is credited with growing the property into one of the state’s most-recognized, and visited, attractions.

In an interview on Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick, Whitt said the move from tourism to beer is a natural one. "White River State Park is about making Indianapolis and Indiana a better place to live, work and play," said Whitt. "When you think about Sun King, it fits right into that mold. Their community involvement is really unmatched."

Whitt sees continued statewide expansion and an entry into distilled spirits as two key growth opportunities.

Whitt succeeds Omar Robinson, a co-founder and owner, who was key to growing the brewery from zero to 30,000 barrels in six years. He will remain on the brewery’s board and continue to be involved in strategy, which son Clay says will focus on growth.

"There's plenty of room for good beer," said the younger Robinson. "People's tastes are changing, they want to drink local and support their local community and it's the wave of the future."

  • Perspectives

    • Why Blogging Without Rules Produces the Best Content

      I spend a lot of time talking with people about what makes writing good. Depending on who you ask, good writing might be exciting and illustrative. It might be simple and efficient. If you ask someone who works in marketing, good writing translates to whatever helps a marketing strategy generate more leads, or more sales, or more of whatever a business is looking to gain. Though I fully respect and agree with this results-oriented perspective on content, in practice it can be...

    More

Events



  • Most Popular Stories

    • The Honda Greensburg plant opened in 2008.

      Honda to Invest $4M, Add Jobs at Greensburg Plant

      The American Honda Motor Co. continues to invest in its Greensburg, Indiana plant as it has announced the factory will be producing the company’s first electrified sport utility vehicle in the U.S. The company says it will invest more than $4 million and add 34 new jobs in the plant to support production of the CR-V Hybrid.  

    • (photo courtesy of The Times of Northwest Indiana)

      Valpo Mansion May Fall to Wrecking Ball

      A one-time mansion that once hosted dignitaries and politicians while they visited Valparaiso appears to be facing demolition, following years of decline and disrepair.  The stately mansion, known locally as the Brown home, maybe knocked down and replaced with condominiums, according to our partners at The Times of Northwest Indiana. 

    • Socio received the Top-Rated Overall Culture award. (Provided Photo/Socio)

      Inaugural Tech Culture Award Winners Unveiled

      Indianapolis-based Powderkeg has unveiled the winners of the inaugural Indiana Breakout Tech Culture Awards. Eleven Hoosier tech companies received the honors based on survey rankings from the 2019 Tech Census, which focused specifically on tech cultures. Nearly 270 tech companies were nominated and the winners were selected from a group of 50 finalists. More than 1,300 individuals responded to the survey, which allowed employees to rate their companies and employers on...

    • Photo courtesy of Purdue University

      Purdue Offers 'Stranger Things' Replica Tee

      Purdue University has partnered with trademark licensing agent CLC to produce a special-edition replica Purdue shirt that appeared on an episode of Netflix’s “Stranger Things 3.”  The university also teamed up with Venley to accurately replicate the shirt, which will be available at retailers on the West Lafayette campus and online later this month.

    • Mearns was named Ball State's president in 2017.

      Ball State President Bullish on Growth Potential

      The president of Ball State University says he is optimistic about the growth trajectory for the school and the Muncie community at large. Ball State recently set a new record for total enrollment with more than 22,000 students, including its largest-ever freshman class. The university is also continuing with several major capital projects, including the more than $87 million Foundational Sciences building, which broke ground earlier this month. In an interview in Studio (i) with...