Family-Owned Traders Brewing Company Brings Popular Home Brews to Zionsville Road
Photographer: Brian Brosmer
Home brewing runs in the family for Krissy Hensley. Hensley’s father, Dale Hockel, started home brewing more than 10 years ago when Krissy was around 16 years old.
It was no surprise then that once Krissy turned 21, she caught the hops and began home brewing as well. What started out as a hobby for the family has turned into a full-on venture with Traders Brewing Company.
“I have been home brewing for about five years,” Hensley says. “Brewing beer has always been something we love. Before we opened the brewery, we would have family get-togethers, buy a bunch of bombers and have our own little tasting parties. Beer has always been a way that our family has bonded and gotten together to socialize.”
The family had always talked about one day owning their own brewery. The dream started to become a reality in January of 2017 when Krissy came up with a proposed plan, and the family collectively agreed to dive into the business. Traders Brewing Company officially opened this past March.
Hensley, who is also the manager of operations, co-owns the brewery with her husband Bart, who serves as head brewer, her older sister Sarah Beall, who handles the financials, her husband Chris, and, of course, Krissy’s parents Dale and Laura, who help in various ways, including oversight of the brewery.
The business truly is a family affair. The Hensleys and the Bealls all have full-time day jobs. So, the group is on hand at the brewery once 5:00 p.m. rolls around.
“Personally, I had no idea what I was getting into,” Hensley says. “We had a good idea of what we wanted to do, but until you go and do it, you never know how it is going to play out. It has been a roller coaster ride. But it is really cool for us to say that this is ours.”
Traders Brewing is located at 8587 Zionsville Rd., about 10 minutes south of Bub’s Burgers in Zionsville. Hensley says the location was a prime position for several reasons. With her parents living in Zionsville, the family wanted the brewery in or as close to Zionsville as possible. The location also provides a central point for the rest of the family. Hensley and her husband live in Brownsburg, where Bart is a teacher at Brownsburg High School.
Currently, Traders Brewing is closed Monday through Wednesday, with varying hours Thursday through Sunday. That certainly hasn’t kept the community from stopping by, though. Each week the brewery is drawing more and more regulars and word continues to spread as they attend local festivals like the Whitestown Brewfest.
“Many people have come and chose this as a spot to meet their friends,” Hensley says. “Zionsville and Carmel residents have been huge supporters of Traders Brewing early on. It is cool now to see some of the same people coming in, learn who they are and know their favorite drinks. It has been great developing those relationships. We are grateful for the support we’ve had and the overall kindness that our local communities have shown us.”
Traders Brewing doesn’t offer a food menu currently. Instead, they will have food trucks from time to time. But they also encourage patrons to bring in their own food to enjoy, while they have a beer or two.
Krissy says that is by design. The family wants Traders Brewing to have a community and family-feel to it when people stop by.
“We’ve had people bring in Crock-Pots and plug those in,” Hensley says. “We really don’t mind. What makes us different is we want people to walk in and feel a sense of home. We just want people to come in and hang out with us and feel welcomed.”
As for the beer selection, Hensley says Traders Brewing “doesn’t discriminate against beer.” The brewery has all kinds of offerings including four house beers that are almost always on tap and four rotating taps.
Many of the beer names, Hensley says, are subtle nods to their family in some way.
One of the more interesting aspects of the brewery is the Traders Truck. The teal blue 1963 Ford Econoline pickup is a true classic. The truck is often parked out front of the brewery, and it’s a vehicle that you can’t miss.
Traders Brewing also uses the truck as a branding tool, with plans to take it to local brewfests and festivals around Indianapolis in the future.
“Both my parents are from Iowa originally,” Hensley says. “My dad found and bought that truck in Iowa about a year ago. It is a rare car. There really aren’t many of them out there. When we bought it, it was actually running, and we only had to get a couple of repairs done. We had it repainted but kept it that original teal color that it was when we bought it. We’ve dubbed it ‘The Traders Truck’ and slapped a couple of vinyl decals of our logo on it. It definitely helps bring attention to us.”
As Traders Brewing continues getting settled into their new location, Hensley says the family will be exploring ways to stay involved and give back to the Zionsville and surrounding communities through local charities and events.
“I’m always telling people as I meet them, that we are interested in being involved,” Hensley says. “That face-to-face aspect is the best part.”
Traders Brewing Company is located at 8587 Zionsville Rd. You can give them a call at 317-280-7505 or visit them online at TradersBrewingCompany.com. Traders Brewing is open Thursdays from 1 to 9 p.m., Fridays from 5 to 9 p.m., Saturdays 1 to 9 p.m. and Sundays 12 to 8 p.m. The brewery is closed Monday through Wednesday.