It has, at times, been a rough ride for Our Lady of Perpetual Hops, but the never-say-die brewery plans to open in New Albany by late July.
Now on its fourth location, primarily due to issues with other spaces previously targeted, the brewery has landed in a huge building in an industrial park off Grant Line Road, not far from Indiana University Southeast.
Owned by primary investor Rob Pappas, as well as Greg Wortham, Tanner Wortham and Kyle Richmer, the business appears to have found a permanent home, where now there is a seven-barrel brewing system with five fermenters, a 24-foot bar overlooking the brewhouse and plenty of space for seating and entertainment.
It’s a welcome sight for proprietors Richmer and Tanner Wortham.
“We didn’t get to start doing anything,” Wortham said, talking about the different targeted locations from Floyds Knobs to Georgetown. “We’ve been at it close to two years.”
But, believe it or not, the owners aren’t finished.
The third stop was a building on Paoli Pike in Floyd County, and that building, which sits on 10 acres, is still being renovated in preparation to transform it into a restaurant and brewery under the name Our Lady of Perpetual Hops.
The longterm plan is to turn the current roughly 12,000-square-foot space into a production brewery sometime down the road, perhaps as early as 2020, by installing a larger brewing system.
The current system then would be moved to the Paoli Pike location as a research and development brew system.
Wortham says the idea for the brewery started as “a joke” between him and Richmer, who has been home brewing for five years. Then Wortham’s father, Greg, got involved, along with Pappas, and that financial backing helped make the joke become a reality.
Along with the taproom and some office space — the building once was home to The Perfumery, an import-export company — there is a massive unused area that Wortham estimates may be up to 6,000 square feet. The plan for that is to split it up between storage and entertainment, such as dart boards, corn hole courts and possibly a stage for live music.
There’s even talk of installing a putting green or two.
The final obstacle now is getting the brewing system fully operational and starting the process of brewing beers to fill the 12 taps. That’s where Richmer, who will serve as head brewer, comes in. He said beers will range from approachable, basic styles to IPAs to big, adjunct stouts. Expect plenty of experimentation, he says.
“Big stouts and hoppy IPAs,” is how Richmer responds when asked what he plans to brew. “I also like sours. I’m all over the place.”
“It’s going to be all over the board,” added Wortham, who will serve as assistant brewer. “We want to have a uniqueness.”
Richmer says he became interested in brewing a few years ago after his brother bought him a homebrew kit: “It quickly became a very time-consuming and expensive hobby.”
It’s a hobby that has turned into the beginnings of a business.
The overall goal for the owners of Our Lady of Perpetual Hops is to make the place a location for people to hang out, a place that is family-friendly and dog-friendly that will attract IUS students, neighbors and workers from the surrounding industrial park.
The more immediate goal is to simply get the brewery operational after the long haul of finding the right spot. The bar is in place and a huge mural already adorns one wall, providing a tangible idea of what awaits.
Table seating and the entertainment area still have to be finished, and of course, beer still needs to be brewed, but after two years of frustration, Our Lady of Perpetual Hops is closer than ever to becoming a reality.
“It’s taken longer than we expected,” Wortham said. “We didn’t know what we were in for. You just kind of run into these obstacles you wouldn’t expect.”
Our Lady of Perpetual Hops will be located at 300 Foundation Court in New Albany.