Family-Owned Bier Brewery Opens New Carmel Location
Writers: Josh Brown & Jon Shoulders
Photography Provided by Kerch Creative & Brian Brosmer
After nearly a decade in the same spot, one of Indy’s most popular breweries has expanded to a second location. Bier Brewery launched a brand new Carmel taproom — officially opened early November.
The new spot is located at the Meridian Village Plaza at 13720 N. Meridian. The location hits close to home because, well, Carmel-Westfield is quite literally home for co-owner Jerry Connor.
“We’ve lived in The Village Farms since 1989,” Jerry says. “Carmel & Westfield has been our home. It is a perfect location for us. My kids went to school at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel growing up. Leah and Ryan graduated from Westfield High School. A lot of our friends and people in Carmel & Westfield are excited about it. We are stoked about it, too.”
Jerry launched Bier Brewery in 2010 with his sons Darren and Ryan, who are also co-owners in the family business. Having expanded from a nano-brewery in 2010 to a 20-barrel, full-production facility with more than 130 beer selections in less than seven years, their focus has always been on putting out quality craft brews. That will continue to be the case at the Carmel location as well.
“When you focus on quality and consistency, it’s not difficult to grow naturally,” Jerry says. “If your business plan is based on quantity that’s where you can get into trouble sometimes, but we’ve always put our energies into quality and attention to detail. Focus, focus, focus — that’s what we’re all about.”
In 2010, Darren and Jerry felt the time was right to try their hand at a nano-brew operation and officially launched the business the night before Thanksgiving. Ryan joined the business after graduating from Indiana University. Not long after they opened the East 65th Street location, demand began to increase, and even after expanding to a seven-barrel system, the Connors could barely keep up with orders.
“The demand is really what drove our growth, so it hasn’t just been a matter of trying to grow just for the sake of it,” Jerry says. “We were the first nano in Indy and the first brewery to open after Sun King. It’s not just a hobby for us — it’s a passion and a profession. We continue to pay attention to the small details. There are no shortcuts.”
It’s truly a family effort. Darren heads up brewing operations while Jerry handles marketing and Ryan serves as sales director. Jerry’s daughter Leah is a partner in Carmel as well. Carmel residents and friends of the Connors, Chip and Pam Edgington, have also come on board as partners for the new Carmel location.
“We are delighted to join the Connor family and are excited about growing Bier in Carmel,” Chip says. “We’ve been big supporters of Bier since it launched in Indy eight years ago and are excited about the buzz we’ve been hearing from friends across the north side for the new location.”
Bier now has a presence in more than 350 local restaurants, bars and liquor stores, and they work with four Indiana distributors. Customer favorites include Weizengoot, a German-style Hefeweizen, Special Kolsch and PDG, an American pale ale.
Bier has also taken home 73 Indiana Brewers’ Cup medals over the years, along with two gold medals at the 2016 Brewers Association World Beer Cup for Sanitarium and ESB (Extra Special Bitter). Bier has also won multiple medals from the Great American Beer Fest and recently received Silver for their Pumpkin Ale at the 2018 World Beer Cup.
Proof of the Connors’ devotion to detail lies not only in the beer they crank out each week but even in the hardware they use. Darren designed Bier’s 65th Street facility and its refrigeration system, while Jerry specially crafts the tap handles. Those specially-made tap handles can be found at the Carmel location, too. Sarah Buschmann has been designing the blackboard at 65th St. for the last six years. She is bringing her talents to the Carmel Taproom as well.
“You could call Darren the MacGyver of brewing,” Jerry says. “There isn’t anything he can’t fix or design and come up with. He’s got a stainless-steel welder that he goes to that helps us out.”
Bier Brewery has 16 rotating selections and award-winning beer offered on tap at the Carmel spot. Unlike their original taproom, however, the new Carmel location is family-friendly, as of right now. Boombozz provides finger-food options, while Puccini’s, located just next door, provides carry-in options to Bier Brewery as well.
“We are just about ready to launch Charcuterie and specialty desserts made with our biers around the first of March,” Jerry adds. “It is a relaxed atmosphere just like our original location.”
The new Carmel Bier Brewery is more than twice the size of the original taproom off Binford. The Carmel taproom is 3,500 square feet with an additional roughly 800 square feet of kitchen and office space — plenty of space to accommodate staff, guests and families.
The Carmel spot will also include a patio, which will be dog-friendly.
Back on Oct. 4, Bier partnered with JT Walker’s, a brewery in Illinois, to offer “Small-Town Hero” IPA in honor of Noblesville West Middle School teacher, Jason Seaman. The tapping party was a big success with profits from the beer sales going towards Seaman’s foundation. A second batch is being scheduled in the near future. The Connors are excited to bring that same kind of community focus to their new Carmel location.
“Being involved in the community has always been a part of our business plan,” Jerry says. “There are a lot of community things happening in Carmel and Westfield, and we certainly want to maintain those ties. It will be fun. We will be seeing our Carmel & Westfield friends a lot more often at this new location.”
Bier Brewery in Carmel is located at 13720 N. Meridian Street. You can also visit the original Bier Brewery and Taproom at 5133 East 65th Street in Indianapolis. Check out bierbrewery.com for additional information.