Writer / Jody Veldkamp
We’ve all heard the stories of great companies that got their start in someone’s garage. Apple, Disney, Harley Davidson, HP, Microsoft, and Nike are claimed to have started in a garage. Most of those, with the likely exception of Harley Davidson, didn’t gather the attention of the neighbors. When Andrew Groves started brewing beer at his Center Grove home his neighbors noticed.
What started in a garage as home brewing grew into Planetary Brewing Company. Since March 2013 the taproom and brewing have taken place in an industrial park on Polk Street. In December Planetary’s stand-alone taproom has joined the growing number of businesses in Old Town Greenwood.
Located just north of Madison, and across the street from The Blind Big, Planetary Brewing has remodeled a more than 100-year-old building to provide seating for about 70 people. The taproom includes an upper level overlooking the bar. Plans call for an outdoor patio behind the building in an abandoned alley that is part of city’s downtown revitalization plans.
A key reason for the move was visibility. Groves has this to say about his current customers “We love them because they find us.” The Polk Street location doesn’t lend itself to walk-in traffic. It “never happens” he added. Old Town provides a lot of exposure and a connection with nearby restaurants.
The taproom is not trying to be a restaurant. However, customers will not go hungry. They are welcome to bring food or have it delivered from places such as Between the Bun or Jockamo Pizza. For the beer lover, it features eight taps of Planetary brews and a growing list of guest taps of brews for around Indiana.
Groves says that back in his garage brewing days “You really didn’t know what you making. Family and friends say ‘I really like this beer’ but they are biased, and getting free beer.” To get a valid opinion he turned to Doug Goins, a longtime bartender at Shallo’s. Doug liked the beer so much he became a partner in Planetary Brewing. His experience and reputation have been “invaluable” Groves added.
The move to Old Town puts Groves in on the ground level of growth. He received no city funding to build the new location. The area is not only seeing new business, but homes in the area are being renovated and attracting more people. Growth for Planetary won’t only come at the taproom.
Moving the taproom provides space for expansion of the current brewing operation. Additional equipment is on the way. Groves expects to add new variety and to be able to offer his current seasonal selections on a more regular basis. As the brewing capacity grows distribution can expand and the brewery started in a local garage will continue to attract new fans, whether they are in Old Town, or elsewhere around the state.
M-W-Th 4 – 9pm
Friday 4 – 10pm
Saturday 2 – 10p
Sunday Noon – 6pm