By ELIZABETH BEILMAN
A new business will be on tap later this year to join a handful of others opening near the Big Four pedestrian bridge.
Flat 12 Bierwerks, a craft brewery based in Indianapolis, announced its plans to open a taproom in downtown Jeffersonville at 130 W. Riverside Drive. The business will be located in the warehouse connected to The Olive Leaf, which also is opening soon, according to Olive Leaf owner Jimmy Shraby.
Flat 12 co-founder and CEO Sean O’Connor said the doors will open around the end of spring or beginning of summer.
“We’re working with the architect right now, and we’re hoping to open as soon as possible,” O’Connor said.
The new taproom is the brewery’s first satellite location and will have all the brews available in Indianapolis on tap, in addition to beers brewed on site that will be unique to Jeffersonville.
He said the brewery chose the city because its downtown is poised for major growth.
“Southern Indiana has been very good to Flat 12,” O’Connor said. “We really like what the city of Jeffersonville is doing in redevelopment. It just seems like a really up and going place.”
He also said the business will have entirely new equipment and a “pretty significant” number of employees, although he was unsure of an exact number. The taproom will offer a limited menu alongside its beer.
Flat 12’s beer lineup “pays proper respect to the traditions of American craft brewing with its flagship beers” and offers seasonal specialties, according to the company’s website. The beers are described as “balanced, clean and flavorful, with a unique twist.”
Core offerings include a porter, amber ale, blonde, IPA and pale ale.
Mayor Mike Moore said the establishment of a company from outside of the area is a good sign for the city.
“It’s a fun time to be in Jeff. I always like to see local people take a risk, but when you have major national companies who are coming in from out of town and making big investments in downtown Jeff, that is a true sign of a huge recovery for us,” he said. “Jeffersonville is definitely on the upswing.”
Flat 12 is one of many new businesses opening downtown, said Jay Ellis, Executive Director Jeffersonville Main Street Inc. One of these is another beermaker — Red Yeti Brewing Co., which is undergoing renovations and delayed its original January opening.
“We’ve got more emphasis on making the downtown area more a walkable place, and this just contributes to it,” Ellis said. “It’s just another quality-of-life improvement.”
Roger Baylor, co-owner of The New Albanian Brewing Co. in New Albany, said he is looking forward to sharing the area with another brewery.
“We’ve been tight with the Flat 12 guys since they were founded in 2010,” he said. “They’re a lot of fun, so it sounds to me like the whole thing is going to be a lot of fun.”
Baylor said Southern Indiana is ripe for the craft beer scene because of its proximity to Louisville, which just started receiving Flat 12 distributions at its restaurants in the last week.
“This is an Indiana brewery seeing the value of the metro market,” he said. “This is an indication of something I’ve been saying for a long time.”