Hitting the cold ones

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By Dan Domsic

In one of my recent columns, I told the tale of how computer problems wracked my world during the holidays.

Today, I want to tell a different tale from my experiences in the journalism world.

In the closing days of my time at Butler University (my last semester), I managed to pull off the unthinkable.

I made a case to write about the craft beer industry in the Hoosier state. My task was to take the entire semester to research and write one article on the business that was spreading all over Indiana.

My quest led me to fascinating locales around the state – and to fascinating, foamy conclusions.

At one moment, I interviewed a head brewer that got a degree in criminal justice and got to where he was by home brewing.

Another time, I was being walked around a distribution warehouse. I turned and looked out a window into the warehouse and was stunned by thousands of cases of libations. If going to breweries was akin to visiting a playground for a college senior, visiting this place was like a pilgrimage to Mecca.

And the brewers were almost always fun to talk to. Some were more businesslike than others, and only one owner seemed to knock me off-kilter.

In each and every pint that a Hoosier brewer sells, there’s huge profit for local business. At one brewery, it was revealed that a single pint might only cost a little more than a quarter to make if it was served off the draft line.

And yet, people line up to pay $3 to $6 for a smooth Sun King Brewing Co. Sunlight Cream Ale or hoppy Three Floyds brew. I don’t know their overheads, but of course those folks are turning a profit.

There’s a lot to be said about that situation. First, it must be a heck of a product. Second, consumers must have a certain loyalty and taste for the stuff if they’re willing to shell out that much when a six pack of Bud is super cheap.

By the time I was finished with the project, I visited a brewery in Bloomington, returned to one of my favorite haunts back home, Three Floyds, and wrote a story about a business with historic roots (Indiana was awash in local beer before prohibition) flourishing.

And I managed to get away with telling everyone I knew that I was doing homework when I grabbed a cold one.

Now for a shameless plug or two: Visit www.fishersontap.com to check out the Fishers Rotary Club’s Second Annual Fishers on Tap craft beer event happening this month.

Second, I have a new Twitter handle. Follow me @FishersEditor as well as @CI_Fishers. Coffee hours, as always, are on Tuesdays from 3 to 5 p.m. at Hearthstone Coffee House & Pub.

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