Indiana’s second-largest brewery is now available statewide and its co-owner expects to exceed the previous small brewery limit he fought to increase during last year’s legislative session. Indianapolis-based Sun King Brewing Co. is being sold across northern Indiana after reaching agreements with multiple regional distributors. Clay Robinson says production last year totaled just shy of the previous 30,000 barrel a year, state-imposed limit. Robinson believes the nearly seven year-old brewery will pump out between 35,000 and 40,000 barrels in 2016.
After Sun King dialed back its distribution footprint to keep its total production level under the state limit, Robinson says the reaction from customers was similar to "taking toys away from children." He adds Sun King’s new and returning customers are "grateful that the law has changed."
Robinson believes the thirst for craft beer in the state has not yet peaked. When Sun King was launched in 2008 there were 32 breweries in Indiana and even with 120 current Hoosier breweries, he says there is room for more. "Craft beer sales continue to rise. The last 10 years have seen double digit growth nationwide from 12 to 18 percent growth year-over-year." He says consumption of craft beer in Indiana has more than doubled to 8 percent since his brewery launched. Robinson says Sun King’s goal is to continue to sell only in Indiana.
Sun King had to cut back on distribution last year amid projections that production would reach the regulatory ceiling, which co-owner Clay Robinson says drew a negative reaction.