Hoosier Brewing Co. expanding

A brewery planning to move to Franklin has found its way onto the shelves of one of Indiana’s biggest grocery store chains.

Soon-to-be Franklin-based Hoosier Brewing Co. is now sold at each of the 34 Meijer grocery stores in Indiana. At the 14 central Indiana locations, the beer has its own display and also is promoted on the ends of shelves near the beer aisle. At 20 other locations across the state, you can find the brews in the beer aisle.

Hoosier Brewing Co. owner Brian Nentrup was approached by representatives of Meijer who were interested in his product and the possibility of selling his beer at the company’s Indiana locations, Nentrup said. Nentrup traveled to Grand Rapids, Michigan, to meet with Meijer’s corporate staff earlier this year and a distribution deal was reached.

Nentrup distributes his beer to the 14 central Indiana Meijer locations and a distribution company delivers the rest, Nentrup said. But the payoff goes far beyond additional revenue, Nentrup said.

“Meijer is a big win for us,” Nentrup said. “They came to us, liked our beer and our brand and said we want to showcase you. We hit their shelves several weeks ago and it’s sold incredibly well.”

The distribution deal also created a need for more space for the brewer, which is planning to open a tap room and brewery in a Franklin shopping center next month. In January, Hoosier Brewing Co. announced its plans to move operations from Shelby County to the shopping center at 157 Holiday Place, off King Street and Interstate 65, because it has the space and accessibility to the interstate that Nentrup was looking for. In January, the Franklin Redevelopment Commission unanimously approved giving Nentrup $138,000 for infrastructure improvements, such as installing a new heating and air conditioning system, upgrading the flooring and electrical work.

Originally, the brewery was expecting to take up just part of the shopping center. Now, Nentrup has the entire center to himself, though he plans to start off using only about 5,000 square feet to open the tap room and restaurant. He plans to use the rest of the space in the shopping center for manufacturing and brewing as the company grows, he said.

If Hoosier Brewing Co. continues to expand, Nentrup will be looking for a larger distribution facility in Franklin near I-65, though he would still keep the soon-to-be-completed tap room on King Street, he said.

“I would be lying if I said I didn’t design it this way — we want to be a brewery with statewide presence,” Nentrup said. “My vision is even bigger than this. We want a large presence in the state of Indiana and the potential to expand beyond Indiana.”

Prior to its deal with Meijer, Hoosier Brewing Co. was already sold in most of the Big Red and Payless Liquors stores throughout the state, Nentrup said. His next ambition is to get his beer sold in Kroger grocery stores, he said.

Nentrup’s focus has always been on three key components: one-on-one customer experience at the brewery’s tap room, making sure his beer is sold in restaurants and being available in grocery stores and liquor stores, he said.

Currently, about 20 to 30 kegs are delivered to local restaurants each week, including Scotty’s Brewhouse in Southport, and The Stacked Pickle, Fireside Brewhouse and Main Street Grille in Greenwood.

Corey Elliot is a reporter at the Daily Journal. He can be reached at celliot@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2719.