Closing the books on 2013 and looking forward to 2014

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Closing the books on 2013 and looking forward to 2014

I am often convinced that time speeds up as I get older because with each passing year it seems that everything is going by faster and faster, and this year was no exception.

A lot of great stuff happened at Sun King in 2013! We added a lot of new tanks and made more beer this year than ever before and we added a lot of new people to the Sun King Crew in order to keep up with the ever-increasing amount of work. Because of all of this, we were able to expand the area where Sun King is available by partnering with three Indiana Beer Distributors. We still self distribute the greater Indianapolis area and our beer still isn’t available state wide, but we are working hard and hope to be able to change that in the coming year… Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as just making more beer! Check out this piece by Indiana Senator Jim Banks that was published via Inside Indiana Business that give a little more insight into the red tap surrounding the growing Craft Beer movement in Indiana:

We did our first ever out of state distribution of beer in conjunction with the Craft Brewers Conference in Washington D.C. and the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, Colorado. Essentially, we sent enough beer so that people who enjoy our beer at these events have an opportunity to get some at their favorite Craft Beer bar or package store and enjoy it fresh. When it’s gone, it’s gone. We plan to continue these one time distributions surrounding Craft Beer events that we participate in across the country in order to share what we do with more people and promote Indiana as an up and coming destination for Craft Beer travelers. We were fortunate to receive invites to a number of great festivals across the country, including the Firestone Walker Invitational and the Sierra Nevada Fresh Hop Festival, and the response to our beer was overwhelming. With all this in mind, we plan to stay true to our roots and our motto; Fresh•Local•Beer, because we truly believe that beer is best when fresh and therefore best enjoyed close to the source.

Not only did we make a lot of great beer this year, but we also used the power of beer to get people out to support community and cultural events throughout central Indiana and help make Indiana a better place to live, work, and play!

One of my personal favorites was our collaboration with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra’s Artists in Residence, Time for Three and Indiana Landmarks that brought us The Eternal Promise of Spring. Not only was this a delicious beer, it became an incredible piece of music composed and performed by Time for 3 and inspired by the brewing process. It was a true collaboration of two classical arts! It was also an opportunity to raise awareness about historic preservation in Indiana, with the tapping being held in the Catacombs of the historic Indianapolis City Market. Check out the full story in the video here.

Our Community Partner Program helped hundreds of community organizations and non-profits attract supporters and raise money to support their endeavors. When we tally it all up, our beer and gift bags helped our Community Partners raise over a half million dollars in 2013!

We continued our Indians Opening Day tradition with the 3rd annual Bike to the Ball Park with Mayor Greg Ballard and our friends at with IndyCOG in an ongoing effort to help promote bicycle awareness and safety in the Circle City!

We worked with ZIPP SPEED WEAPONRY to put together reCYCLE pARTS, a juried art exhibition at the Stutz Gallery that featured various works all created from discarded bicycle parts. Proceeds from this year’s show benefited Freewheelin’ Community BikesWorld Bike Relief, and IndyCOG. Mark your calendars for the second installment of reCycle pARTS debuting on May 2nd from 5-9pm at the Stutz Gallery.

The Sun King/MOKB Concert Series featured hundreds of great live music shows at venues around Indy! We also had some great artists stop by the brewery while they were in town and perform for us… Check out these videos of JJ Grey and Sturgill Simpson.

Our partnership with the Indianapolis Museum of Art culminated with a collaborative effort to support Matisse, Life in Color and created Biere de Fauve, a French/Belgian inspired farmhouse ale.

Our 4th Anniversary Party was a huge success and proceeds from the event allowed us to support the Indianapolis Public Schools Educational Foundation and completely outfit an entire IPS classroom with updated technology like wi-fi, a smart board and computers for the students.

The Inaugural CANvitational brought 30 Canning Craft Breweries from around the country to Indianapolis to showcase their beers, many of which don’t even distribute beer in our state. The event featured five community based arts organization and through our partnership with the Indianapolis Arts Council’s Power 2 Give initiative, we were able to grant $5,000 to VSA Indiana and $1,000 matching grants to the efforts of Dance Kaleidoscope, the Indiana Writers Center, New World Youth Orchestras, and Spotlight Players. Check out this video from the event about ‘Why We Can” and mark your calendars for September 20th, 2014 because we are bringing even more great American Canned Craft Beer this time around!

Movember this year brought the usual facial hair fun to the brewery, a delicious Dortmunder Lager and the first ever Men of Sun King Calendar! Between our tapping party and proceeds from the calendar, we raised over $5,000 that was donated to men’s health initiatives. Check out the hilarity caught on tap here!

We rounded out the year with our annual Sun King Saves Christmas program! This year we donated $1 from every growler purchase over the course of two weekends in December and were able to raise $3000 that we used to buy presents for the kids of IPS School # 67.

As the New Year begins and we turn the corner towards five years, I look at where we are today and I am truly amazed. We are operating at a level beyond Dave and my wildest dreams! When we finally made our way around to deciding that it was a production brewery we wanted to start, rather than the brew pub we had been working towards, our goal was to produce 5,000 barrels of beer in year five… I’m elated to say that we have brewed over 21,000 barrels of beer in 2013 and things show no sign of slowing down. Especially considering that I meet people on a regular basis that just had our beer for the first time last week and we are continually adding accounts to our roster that I never imagined would be interested in serving Fresh•Local•Beer. All of this is because of those of you reading this blog and the growing number of people who love our beer and continue to ask for it wherever you go. A sincere THANK YOU goes out to each and every one of you!

As we’ve grown, we’ve have solidified a seasonal line up of beers, while continuing to craft as many unique new offerings as the brew schedule will permit. (If you haven’t picked up a Men of Sun King Calendar, then you ought to do so before they’re all gone. It will keep you up to date on upcoming seasonal beers and give you a good laugh in the process.) We plan to continue to bring you three to four new beers every month and are excited to announce that, starting in January, we will have a new seasonal beer available in its very own can every four to six weeks!

Here’s a look at the schedule (which is subject to change, like all things):

January: Cowbell Milk Porter

February: Ring of Dingle Irish Stout

March: Indians Lager

May: Popcorn Pilsner

July: Grapefruit Jungle

September: Oktoberfest

November: Wee Muckle

December: Java Mac

In addition we’ll be releasing more of the Sun King King’s Reserve Series that showcases some of our Barrel Aged and Sour Beers, as well as some of our High Gravity Specialty beers, but those are less predictable and will be ready when they’re ready (because you can’t rush deliciousness).  We currently have over 250 Bourbon barrels filled with beer in various stages of aging and over 100 barrels plus a two 1,000 gallon Stainless Steel tanks in our wild fermentation program that brought you beers like Stupid Sexy Flanders and Pink Taco.

We promise to continue our commitment to making the best and freshest beer possible available to the good people of Indiana. We’ve even got a few collaborations starting to take shape for the 2014, so keep your eyes peeled for our newsletter, blog and social media posts in order to stay in the know…

Cheers to another New Year!


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