Guggman Haus Brewing Co. Pairs Beer Concept With Local Racing History
Writer / Seth Johnson
Photographer / Michael Durr
There’s a lot happening at Guggman Haus Brewing Co. to attract locals.
In addition to the beer and family-friendly atmosphere, the brewery is also preserving a vital piece of Indianapolis racing history. Located in the city’s Riverside neighborhood, Guggman Haus resides on the old stomping grounds of the Boyle Racing Headquarters, home to many famous Indy 500 drivers in the 1930s and 1940s including three-time winner Wilbur Shaw.
“Guggman Haus is very much this cozy, cabin vibe with outdoor influence, but we’ve paired it with the racing brand by bringing in the black-and-white photographs and tying in three of our core beers,” says Co-founder Courtney Guggenberger. “You have Wilbur’s Prize Pilsner, Boyle Brown ale and Winner’s Milk Jug stout that are all named for the racing side of things. The vintage racing pairs well with what we’re trying to do with our brand as well. It kind of just all meshes together. We really try to do justice in how we talk about the legacy of Wilbur Shaw.”
Founded by Guggenberger and her identical twin sister Abby Gorman, along with their husbands Derek and Ryan, Guggman Haus started out as a humble brewhouse back in 2019, before expanding to include a taproom, Festhall, beer garden and more in June of this year. In addition to a selection of award-winning beer, Guggman Haus will soon offer a German-inspired food menu including giant pretzels with beer cheese, burgers, brats and more.
Originally from Evansville, the sisters were first introduced to Indianapolis when they attended Butler. After graduating in 2010, Guggenberger moved to Germany for a year with Derek in 2012 for his job. While there, the Guggenbergers discovered how much they were drawn to the communal side of beer.
“When we were in Germany, we didn’t know a lot about beer,” Guggenberger says. “We started to learn a little bit more, and we grew a really big appreciation for the traditions around beer over there and how it really just brought people together.”
Abby and Ryan discovered a similar beer-centric community while briefly living in Denver.
“Around the same time, my sister and her husband moved to Denver just to go explore out there, and they fell in love with the beer and the culture – that outdoor influence of going hiking and then going to grab a beer,” Guggenberger says.
Following these experiences in Denver and Germany, both sisters relocated to the Broad Ripple area, where they still live today.
“We were looking for something that reminded us of that walkability you find all over Europe – that’s what brought us to Broad Ripple,” Guggenberger says.
As both couples began home brewing, they eventually had the idea to start their own business, based around their love for building community through beer.
“We just started talking about this idea of creating something that we could really own and guide ourselves, but also to have it be rooted in community and build it for others,” Guggenberger says. “The idea of being an entrepreneur and guiding our own path was really appealing to all of us.”
As the Guggman Haus team began looking for a location to house their business, they came in contact with a group of vintage racing enthusiasts, who presented them with a grand idea.
“They were looking to save this building that has significant racing history from complete city demolition,” Guggenberger says. “They wanted a business to be the anchor of that spot in order to help bring the legacy of the racing back to life. We heard the vision and saw the space. It was significantly larger than we had initially planned when we had put our business plans together, but our visions aligned.”
Hence, Guggman Haus Brewing Co. found its home at the former Boyle Racing Headquarters. Now, after years of renovation, the brewery has reached its fullest form, with a sprawling facility that suits the whole family.
“It really just has a handmade touch, and that’s what we wanted to go with all along – something that’s cozy, cabin-y, and that families can come and enjoy,” Guggenberger says. “We have kids of our own. The first two years it was 21 and over, but now it actually is a family destination.”
In reflecting on the success of Guggman Haus up to this point, Guggenberger is grateful for the community of beer lovers who have come to embrace the owners’ vision.
“We built it for other people to enjoy, and the fact that they are is humbling and rewarding in and of itself,” Guggenberger says. “Now, to build a space that families can enjoy together as well, we see ourselves in their shoes because we are also that family. I have two little kids, and my sister has two little kids. To be able to bring a welcoming atmosphere for everybody and actually see them enjoy it is at the heart of what we’ve been so excited to do.”
Guggman Haus Brewing Co. is located at 1701 Gent Avenue in Indianapolis. You can visit their website at GuggmanHausBrewing.com, or reach them via phone at 317-602-6131.