Indy Beer Week – The Time Is Now

We had no idea we were so far behind, Indianapolis that is. Now that the wake of National Craft Beer Week has faded to a placid sheen, I think it’s time to finally announce it. Indy Beer Week is on the way, and long overdue!

Broad Ripple Brewpub

From the outside looking in, folks might think we’re a little behind but I think we’re just, well…deliberate. Sometimes it takes a little bit of time for ideas in Indianapolis to develop into something special.

Are we behind?

So, regarding a beer week, just exactly how far are other cities ahead of us? Glad you asked. Allow me to bore you with some national and regional facts.

Of the top 33 cities in the U.S. by population, would it surprise you to learn that Indianapolis (15th) is one of only two of cities that does not have a city-wide beer week? The other? Detroit (23rd).

I get why Detroit doesn’t participate though the rest of Michigan more than picks up the slack with at least eight city-wide beer weeks, several in smaller cities.

Almost every large to mid-size Ohio city has a beer week, including my old hometown of Dayton, which has a freaking parade! Think about that. The mayor of Dayton actually leads the ceremony.

In Kentucky, Louisville and Lexington treat their residents with a beer week celebration while Illinois has only Chicago. (Quick, what’s the second largest city in Illinois? Didn’t know either. It’s Aurora).

Touting Indianapolis

In the 1980’s, Indy’s image began to rise along with the roof of a domed stadium for which there was no occupant, but as you know, our city has been trending ever since.

Indianapolis Artsgarden

Look at the Circle Centre Mall, the Artsgarden, the Canal Walk, White River State Park, the Cultural Trail, etc., projects that took some time for our city leaders and residents to warm up to. Yes, perhaps we like things to marinate a little bit in our minds before we jump in, but hey, when we do…

Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

Indy has world-class museums, pro and amateur sports, North America’s best airport, national praise for our neighborhood connectivity, affordable housing, friendly folks, and volunteers so numerous that many are turned away from monstrous events like the Super Bowl, NCAA Final Four and the Indianapolis 500. This city knows something about involvement. And greatness. That’s why Indy Beer Week will be huge.

Maybe we in Hoosier-land are a little more reserved than our neighbors but the main reason for a beer week is because the 50-plus (it’s true!) breweries in the metropolitan Indianapolis area make fantastic beer. This is a great way for us to showcase those breweries and highlight our brewing past, all the while showing off our beautiful city.

The Farm Bureau Insurance Lawn at White River State Park

Similar, but different than the Indiana Craft Beer Week that I proposed two years ago, this city-wide event will create even more of a buzz as well as offering a more specific, leading step for the rest of the state to replicate.

Tying these strings together, you might say that art provides the bottom to beer’s music.

Several components

And while I still propose that breweries, bars, restaurants, distributors, retailers, farmers and beer fans join in the fun with tours, special tappings, tap takeovers, drink specials, glassware and merchandise specials, tastings, food pairings, educational discussions, history, etc., this week will be unique. There are three components:

  • Music. Encourage breweries to bring in local music acts to perform and also encourage beer fans to visit establishments they’ve never been to see live, local music. For me it would be the State Street Pub.
  • Art. There are local artists who are prominently displayed throughout Indy breweries and who also lend their creativity to marketing, posters, social media as well as can and bottle labels. The
    Rita Kohn. Indiana’s First Lady of Beer, and author, playwright, director, professor, dancer, etc. Photo by Rick Burkhardt

    beer week would encourage breweries to display works by local artists while bringing a new emphasis to the various museums around town. Tying these strings together, you might say that art provides the bottom to beer’s music.

  • Community. Any money received from sponsorships, signage, etc., will NOT be for profit. An Indy Beer Week would benefit an amazing organization I’ve worked with many times, the Legacy House, who helps heal the wounds of victims of violence, particularly sexual and domestic abuse.

Differing from other cities, not every participating brewery or business must actually be located in the city limits. For instance, how could we possibly deny including Daredevil Brewing in Speedway because they aren’t technically an Indianapolis business? Of course we can’t. Heck, I don’t even propose that everyone has to be in Marion County.

Let’s also include, if they want of course, our beer industry friends in the outer Indy areas such as Scarlet Lane Brewing (McCordsvillle), Grand Junction Brewing (Westfield), Taxman Brewing (Bargersville), Hoosier Brewery (Franklin), Wooden Bear Brewing (Greenfield), Brew Link Brewing (Plainfield), Sugar Creek Malt Co. (Lebanon) etc., because they greatly add to the Indianapolis beer culture.

The Athenaeum

So here we are. An Indy Beer Week is coming, with more details and information to follow, so expect to participate in this event in late summer or early fall, 2017. All information will be presented soon on social media and online at, Twitter and Facebook.

To paraphrase Clark Griswold, “We’re going to do it right, and we’re going to do it big. You want something you can be proud of, don’t you?”

Photo by Rick Burkhardt

Of course we do. This is Indy.

Drink Local. Hear Local. Feel Local. 



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