By BRADEN LAMMERS
There has been a yeti sighting in downtown Jeffersonville.
The Red Yeti Brewing Co. made its official announcement that it will locate a brew pub at the corner of Spring and Chestnut streets in downtown Jeffersonville.
Renovations have been ongoing at 252 and 254 Spring St. to prepare the space for the brew pub, which will have a brewery on site, but the announcement of the restaurant locating in the historic district wasn’t made official until Tuesday with the ribbon cutting.
Plans for the historic building that at one time housed a pharmacy and then a furniture store is to convert the 3,000-square-foot space into a bar and brewery on one side, and a dining room and kitchen on the other.
The husband-and-wife owners of Red Yeti, Paul and Brandi Ronau, said some of the additional details are still being worked out, but the hope is to have the restaurant open in August.
FERMENTING A PLAN
Paul said the idea for opening a brew pub started while the couple still lived in California.
An information technology employee with UPS, he said he has been a home brewer for some time and decided that he wanted to turn pro. But the prospects of opening the restaurant while the couple was living in California were not feasible.
Brandi, who said she had been working in restaurants in California, said the couple could not overcome the hurdles of launching a startup on the west coast. The Salem native decided it would be a better fit if they came back to Southern Indiana to try and launch their business.
Paul explained that the plan was, initially, to locate near Avon.
Their real estate agent, Mike Kopp, vice president of commercial sales with ReMax First, pointed them to downtown Jeffersonville.
“This is exactly the brew pub building,” Paul said of the space the couple decided to lease.
In addition to converting the inside of the building, which is expected to seat 80 to 100 people, Brandi said she is working with the city to create a patio for the restaurant. However, in order to create an outdoor patio, the business would need to claim a parking spot or two along Spring Street and bump out the sidewalk around the outdoor seating area.
To help pay for the renovations to the building, Red Yeti is seeking $20,000 through the city’s redevelopment commission to convert the interior and another $10,000 for exterior renovations. The money would require equal matching funds from the business.
Brandi also added in the next few weeks, Red Yeti plans to launch a kickstarter campaign to help pay for “all the extras in the brew pub.” The money from the kickstarter campaign would help pay for things like upgrades to brewing equipment or additional brewing barrels.
“I’m so excited,” Brandi said. “We’re new in town and just to have this support already is amazing to me.”
WHAT’S ON TAP
During the ribbon-cutting ceremony, the interest the papered-up windows has already garnered was evident.
More than 50 city officials, local business owners and others gathered along Spring Street to see the future brew pub’s official announcement.
“This is obviously what we envisioned — the whole idea of the walking bridge was to attract new people to downtown,” said Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore.
But the Ronaus did not know about the planned Big Four pedestrian and bicycle bridge ramp that will land nearby. They also didn’t know about the corridor that is being created along Chestnut Street that will lead people from the bridge into Jeffersonville’s downtown historic district and to the corner where their restaurant will sit.
“We didn’t even know about that when we decided to take this place,” Paul said.
“It’s just icing on the cake,” Brandi added.
The Ronaus aren’t the only ones looking forward to the business opening its doors.
“We’re excited,” said Jay Ellis, executive director of Jeffersonville. “They’re going to be a great addition to the business community. We’re seeing a lot more interest because of the buzz from the Big Four Bridge.”
Kopp added that several other restaurants have expressed interest in locating in the historic district. While one is still in the discussion stage, Kopp said another restaurant, The Olive Leaf Bistro, plans to locate in the former Brad Sprigler Designs Building at 130 Riverside Dr.
The restaurant would use 2,800 square feet of space and include outdoor seating. However, Kopp added the deal is contingent upon the business receiving their liquor license. An answer is expected in early June.
WHERE THE BEER FLOWS LIKE WINE
The Ronaus are working through some of the permitting to allow them to brew on site, and if the permits have still not been received in August, Brandi said the plan is to open with a selection of local guest beers on tap.
Paul’s plan is to have at least three regular beers brewing at Red Yeti. One is an India Pale Ale called HopIPAtamus, a hoppy red ale called Yeti Reddy, and a stout that has yet to be named, according to the business’ Facebook page .
The beer itself will bring a little of the California-style to their brews.
“The beer is good here, but it’s not the same,” Paul said. “Out there they are just hop forward and crazy bitter beers that are loaded with aroma. I wanted to bring the west-coast scene, and if I did it in the west coast, I would kind of just be muted.”
What will not be coming along with the couple from California is a west-coast inspired menu.
Both said the menu is still being determined and the Ronaus are looking for a local chef that wants to stay in their hometown and make something good here.
“Everyone loves beer,” Paul said. “I think everybody who eats food loves beer because it’s a nice pairing. It’s like wine.”