Adrian Ball AKA Dre, Assistant Brewer. In his free time, Dre likes to jump in cold lakes to benefit charity. Photo by Kirk Stelsel.
Many people know the rough outline of Sun King’s creation and are familiar with the core ownership group, but Sun King’s success is the product of its entire staff bringing a lot of experience and expertise to bear on the challenges we face. How Did I Get Here will shed some light on the people who make Sun King what it is.
Adrian Ball met Clay in 1994 at a restaurant called Joe’s in Crawfordsville, Ind. Dre was a cook and Clay, a freshman at Wabash College at the time, was a busboy. The two worked together for about a year until Dre moved to Indianapolis. They reconnected in 1999 when Dre visited Rock Bottom Brewing Co. in downtown Indy where Clay was working as an assistant brewer. “That’s when I first got interested in the brewing process,” he said.
Dre started homebrewing, bringing his beers to Clay to try and even helping Clay out with a brew. In 2005, Dre took a part-time job assisting brewer Omar Castrellon at the now defunct Alcatraz Brewing Co. By that time Clay was working with Dave Colt at The Ram, which was located directly across the street from Alacatraz. Dre got to be friends with Dave when the brewers would “swap ingredients, have a beer together.” In 2008, Dre took an assistant brewing position at Rock Bottom downtown and in 2009, moved over to The Ram when Dave left to pursue Sun King full-time. Dre continued to work full-time as a cook as he gained experience on the brew deck. “Back then there were only so many brewing jobs (in Indianapolis),” said Dre.
In November 2009, Dre took another part-time brewing job, this time at Sun King. By May 2010 he was assisting Dave full-time. “I make sure the brews are running on schedule,” he said. “If Dave’s not here running the brews, I am.” Now Dre spends part of his days training Sun King’s newest assistant brewer, Jon Clampitt.
As Sun King grows Dre hopes to stay right where he is, helping Dave run the brewhouse. “I just love how it’s a family atmosphere,” said Dre. “Everybody gets along and looks out for each other.”
Fun Fact: Our friends at the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra will be happy to know that Dre listens to classical music when he’s alone on the brew deck.