Oaken Barrel Raises a Toast to New Greenwood Development

Writer / Matt Keating

Photographer / Brian Brosmer

Kwang Casey, owner of Oaken Barrel Brewing Company, says he is a true blue southsider and is looking forward to bringing further development to Greenwood.

Casey has been working with the Greenwood Redevelopment Commission on a project to enhance the retail location area that Oaken Barrel is located in.

“I love Greenwood, and I’m working with some Franklin developers to change the retail center that Oaken Barrel is in to bring in more new businesses that will hopefully thrive,” Casey said. “The Greenwood Redevelopment Center has approved $500,000 to support a project to develop the retail center.”

Casey noted that he and the two Franklin developers, Casey and Todd Bemis of The Bemis Group, have purchased the retail center at 50 Airport Parkway and plan to fix up the center at a cost of about $2.6 million.

“There is a lot of property to work with,” he stated. “Oaken Barrel would like to see new neighbors and new restaurants here. We are also going to have work done on the parking lot this fall and replace the signage.”

Casey would like to see a coffee shop or bakery move in nearby as well as some other restaurants and businesses.oaken-barrell-1

“I think there would be a demand for a nice coffee shop people could hang out in or stop by before work or any time of the day. I would love to see different places to eat,” he commented. “I would also welcome another brewery close by or a winery or shop.”

Casey and the Bemis developers are also working on a separate plan to start an event/conference center at the former Varynit Garment Factory on Wayne Street in Franklin. Casey estimates the renovation should cost $4.6 million.

“We should be able to seat between 200-500 people there,” he said.

Despite being busy with his various projects, Casey still loves owning Oaken Barrel.

“I have been here for over 22 years, and when we opened, craft beers and microbreweries were not real big just yet,” he said. “It was an uphill battle at first. It was a lot of hard work. I worked six days a week for the first 10 years. We had to educate people. Now everyone loves craft beer. I have watched a lot of kids who worked for me grow up over the years and start their own businesses that serve craft beer.”

Casey noted that Superfly IPA and Razz Wheat, as well as several other drinks, are still hugely popular at Oaken Barrel.

“We have one fall brew that is very popular during the Colts games and the fall and football season, and that is called Apple Buzz. Our burgers and pizza have also remained big hits over the years. I have regular customers who have also praised my pastas, salads, sandwiches, smoked ribs and other food. We have a family section, two bars, an outside dining area and a small banquet facility as well.”

Oaken Barrel is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week. Prices range from $6-$9 for lunch and $8-$16 for dinner.

When he is not working, Casey likes to play golf, watch his children in running competitions and root for the Indianapolis Colts.

He also enjoys hanging out at Oak Barrel with this staff and many friends. “I love wearing shorts to work and being able to drink great beer. It doesn’t get any better than that,” he laughed.

Oaken Barrel is Indiana’s second largest brewpub, according to Casey.

“We have built up a lot of longtime relationships with our customers, and they keep coming back,” Casey said. “The staff treat the customers like family, and it shows. The waitresses recognize people when they come in and know what they are going to order to drink and eat before they even sit down. People tell me they feel so comfortable and can really relax when they come in.”

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