Indianapolis-based Sun King Brewery has tapped the former executive director of White River State Park to serve as president. Bob Whitt succeeds co-founder and co-owner Omar Robinson, who is retiring in April. Whitt tells Inside INdiana Business he will be involved in the implementation of the company’s growth strategy, including capitalizing on Sun King’s recent announcement of statewide distribution. He says there are other parts of the state that are filled with opportunity for growth.
"In a place like Portland, Oregon, I think more than 50 percent of the beer that’s consumed is actually craft beer and here it’s well, well below that," says Whitt. "So there’s still lots of opportunity in Indianapolis, let alone going to other areas of the state."
Whitt adds there is also an opportunity to expand into other areas of the industry, such as distilling, which is something Sun King has been discussing for a couple of years. "I’d say it’s in the concept phase but there is definitely commitment by the other senior management and we are going through a very careful process of evaluating that."
Sun King says it plans to expand its Community Partner Program statewide. The company has worked with hundreds of community-based organizations, mostly based in Indianapolis, over the years including Second Helpings, The Little Red Door and Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, among others.
In his new role, Whitt will also be responsible for human resources, finance, safety and legislation. The company says Omar Robinson will remain a member of the brewery’s board and continue to provide counsel.
Whitt says the craft industry in Indianapolis is in adolescence.