Downtown South Bend will soon have a three-story brewery with a tasting room, cafe and beer museum.
Drewrys announced Thursday, Oct. 2, that it would open a brewing facility in the former Inwood Department Store at 425 S. Michigan St. within the next six months.
This move represents a comeback for the company, which at its height in the 1960s employed hundreds at its South Bend brewery on Elwood Street.
That facility closed in 1972 when the company was acquired by G. Heileman. Now, current company leaders hope bringing the brewery back to South Bend will also bring back nostalgia for area residents.
“Drewrys is one of the big names in South Bend, alongside the Studebaker and other major employers of that time,” Dan Blacharski, vice president of marketing for Drewrys, said. “This project, for us, has been as much of a history project as a beer project. There’s been so much interest in the history of the brand.”
The brewery’s museum will be a home for vintage Drewrys memorabilia and stories of the company’s history, but it will also celebrate South Bend’s legacy as a major brewing center back when Kamm’s and the Hoosier Brewery were also located in the city.
“Our goal is not to be a microbrewery, but to be a good middle-market supplier — between the micro brew and Miller or Budweiser,” he said. “Microbreweries are doing more specialty beers, not targeting larger markets like Drewrys is. The idea is to reclaim the former reach of Drewrys.”
The new Drewrys location will be the company’s first storefront, but the beer is available at South Bend area stores and restaurants like City-wide Liquors, Don’s Liquor Oasis, McCormick’s, Barnaby’s and the East Bank Emporium.
Because the former Inwood Department Store building needs plenty of work before it can become a brewery, Drewrys is asking for help from fans.
Indiegogo contributors can get a variety of perks like tickets to Drewrys’ grand opening party and recognition on the Drewrys Beer Museum’s “99 Bottles” wall with a personalized Drewrys label.
Follow reporter Lydia Sheaks on Twitter at @LydiaSheaks.