FLOYDS KNOBS — Owners of a planned brewery in Floyds Knobs that will meld beer and essential oils received preliminary approval after addressing resident concerns about traffic, noise, flooding and more at Monday night’s Floyd County Plan Commission meeting.
Our Lady of Perpetual Hops, somewhat controversially named after the New Albany church and school, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, is a brewery and restaurant planned for 3815 Paoli Pike.
The restaurant's team, Rob Pappas (who comes from a Catholic background), along with Mark Cox, Kyle Richmer and Greg and Tanner Wortham — all Southern Indiana natives — hope to open the brewery in spring of 2019 on a 10 acre lot that Pappas bought in 2009.
On the Floyds Knobs property, the owners are planning a two-and-a-half story restaurant/brewery building with a stage, a garage door that opens to an outdoor area and the ability to brew 210 gallons of beer at a time. Plans for an outdoor volleyball area and projector screen that Pappas told the News and Tribune about in February were not included in the ones presented before the plan commission, but Greg Wortham said that they might be added in the future. Renderings for the building showed a structure with metal siding, lots of glass, some stone wainscoting on the bottom and a deck. At the back of the property, an existing building will be used for storage.
To appease the plan commission, as well as seven neighbors who asked questions about the brewery at Monday’s meeting, Our Lady of Perpetual Hops agreed to close its restaurant/brewery by midnight, not to expand its brewery operations into its storage building, to put together a list of alternative building materials that it might use and to draw up a plan to prevent accidental port-a-potty discharge. (There are several currently sitting on the site). Our Lady of Perpetual Hops’ engineer, Jason Copperwaite, addressed flooding concerns by saying that a detention basin would get rid of any additional run-off generated by development and that any building in the floodway would require more plan commission and state approval.
Floyd County Planner Don Lopp also said he’d look into fixing a traffic light in the area to cut down on congestion concerns. The rezoning that Our Lady of Perpetual Hops is seeking is for a use that generates less traffic than what it is currently zoned for, which is general industrial. The brewery and restaurant will have to comply with Floyd County’s current noise ordinances that limit sound from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.
Floyd County Commissioners will have a chance to consider the restaurant and brewery’s development plan, which they could send back to the plan commission for secondary approval.
Our Lady of Perpetual Hops’ owners said they were OK with the added requirements.
“We want it to be good for the community,” said Greg Wortham. “I live in the community so we want it to be favorable for everybody.”
At least two plan commission members, Victor Unruh and Jeff Eastridge said that they liked the idea of the restaurant and brewery.
“I really appreciate you investing in our community,” Unruh said.
But one concern about the business was not formally voted upon by the plan commission.
“I’m not a PC person, politically correct, but I do not like the name of it,” said one resident named Diane who spoke at the meeting. “I think it’s offensive to all the Catholics in the area.”
Pappas told the News and Tribune in February that he chose the punny name to pay tribute to the prevalence of Catholics in the area and because he thought that Catholicism and beer were a “winning combination.”
The Archdiocese of Indianapolis sent Pappas a letter asking him to change the name to avoid confusion, but after declining, he never received another one, according to Richmer.
A post on a non-government run Floyds Knobs Facebook page from June 14 garnered a few comments in opposition to the name, but the owners defended their decision after the meeting.
“It’s Perpetual Hops,” Greg Wortham said. “It’s all about hops. It’s not about religion or making fun of someone else’s stuff. It’s about beer.”
Plan commission members diddn’t consider the name on Monday at the advice of Lopp, who stressed that they were only supposed to consider the business’ development plans.
Our Lady of Perpetual Hops is still working on creating new beers for the restaurant and brewery. Pappas owns another business named Essential Oils University where he analyzes and authenticates essential oil samples that companies send him. In at least some of their brews, Our Lady of Perpetual Hops plan to add the oils, which are really just the essences of plants, such as lavender, peppermint and eucalyptus. The brewery is working on a combination that brings together cannabis extract oil and beer.
When the restaurant opens, Richmer would like for it to feature 30 taps, although he doesn’t expect all of them to hold Our Lady of Perpetual Hops’ beer.
Eventually, Our Lady of Perpetual Hops’ owners hope to distribute their beer. In addition to their Floyds Knobs location, they own a production building in New Albany’s industrial park off of Grant Line Road with 12,000-square feet of room.
The brewery and restaurant could end up employing around 56 people.