Wednesday, April 20, 2011

If beer were a mall...

I like to think of the craft brewing movement that is sweeping Indiana as if it were an anchor at a mall surrounded by small shops. Those of you who have worked in the retail industry may know what an anchor is. For those you who have not, an anchor is usually a larger store that is surrounded by 10-15 smaller stores. Typically the majority of the smaller stores' customers are generated because of the anchor itself. Imagine, if you will, a person walks into a mall with the specific intention of going to one of the larger stores, but they may stop at all the smaller stores on the way to, or from, their destination. This is why the "mall format" has been relatively successful. This analogy, although a stretch, is exactly what Sun King and Upland are to Indiana. People may be turned on to craft beer by a larger brewery like Sun King or Upland, but along the way, or as a result, discover there are so many other options in this city. Like anchors in a mall, breweries like Sun King or Upland don't need the smaller breweries to survive and thrive. Despite that, it is an amazing result for the rest of us. Variety is the spice of life, right?

I don't want you to assume by the paragraph above that Sun King or Upland were the originators of the new wave of craft breweries popping up all over the state. There has been a long standing, albeit overlooked, tradition in Indiana for top notch craft breweries. Although, these breweries have turned a whole new crowd of people on to craft beer. This, in turn, has created a "renaissance" of sorts, and sparked some exciting developments in the world of craft beers.

Because of these two giants we have seen exceptional new breweries like Flat 12 and Bier Brewery popping up around the city; a renewed interest in older breweries like Oaken Barrel, Broad Ripple Brewpub, and the Lafayette Brewing Company; and new breweries still to come like Triton Brewing Company, Blue Republic, and Fountain Square Brewing Company. I have a feeling this "beer revolution" is far from over.



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