Indiana distillery ‘journeys’ into craft beer with Sea of ​​Monsters

Sea of ​​​​Monsters beers

Journeyman Distillery is launching its own craft brewery this year: the awesomely named Sea of ​​Monsters. The Valparaiso, Indiana-based craft beverage company, maker of ASCOT’s Whiskey of the Year award winner (2022, 2023), is adding a microbrewery and tasting room to its “The American Factory,” a recently opened $40 million hospitality destination.

We couldn’t help but wonder: why now? Craft brewery openings were fast and furious for a decade, and now the market has stabilized. Well, it turns out that Journeyman’s expansion into craft brewing has been quite a journey, man.

“We began our journey into craft brewing in June 2016, when we first sent a request to the Village of Three Oaks regarding zoning changes for a brewery,” says Journeyman founder Bill Welter. “Long story short, but after a lot of time and energy we were unable to obtain the necessary approvals to open our brewery because the infrastructure in Three Oaks could no longer support growth beyond what had happened .”

Around the same time, the city of Valparaiso just purchased the ANCO building, which is now home to The American Factory, and reached out to see if Journeyman was interested in expanding.

“So yes, it took a long time for this brewery to open,” he says. “Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, the long-term vision for the company is to be a multi-generational family business. If our goal is to exist and prosper in 100 years, current trends are irrelevant to us.”

The Welters (Bill and Johanna) started distilling in 2009, when no one knew the next wave of whiskey was coming, let alone craft whiskey. Heck, craft distilling didn’t become legal in Indiana until 2013.

“Brewing and distilling will have ebbs and flows and maybe even ups and downs over the next hundred years, but I can confidently say we will see the ups and downs,” says Bill. “It’s impossible to time the market, so all we can do is focus on making great spirits and great beer, while growing the brands over years, decades and possibly centuries, always with an emphasis on quality and experience.”

Now let’s go into the sea and see what monsters await us…

See the samples

“Our route to market involves taproom sales for a minimum of three years, but possibly longer,” says Bill. “We have made significant investments in physical buildings with the intention of creating brand beacons or destination locations where people can have some of the most unique hospitality experiences in the world. In the past we have called this “whiskey hospitality”, but now that beer is coming on board, we may need to repeat that phrase.”

Sea of ​​monsters

The impressive American Factory site features a distillery, full-service Union Hall restaurant, multiple wedding and corporate events and more on a sprawling historic factory campus in Valparaiso, Indiana. Sea of ​​Monsters will operate as both a brewery and a standalone beer bar within The American Factory complex.

Sea of ​​Monsters is a reference to early, daring maritime explorers who sought adventure and overcame great adversities around the world while braving real and mythical creatures from the deep, which also inspires their slogan ‘Face Your Fears’.

Sea of ​​Monsters Tasting Room
Sea of ​​monsters

Sea of ​​Monsters style

The brewery is headed by head brewer Greg Winget. California-born, Indiana-raised Winget is a journalist and copywriter and craft brewer (great choice!). Winget began working in beer sales and distribution before moving to Raleigh, NC, where he earned a Craft Brewing Certificate from Wake Technical College. After stints at Big Boss Brewing, one of North Carolina’s longest-running craft breweries, and at Fortnight Brewing Company, he eventually joined the team at locally beloved Wye Hill Brewing to become their brewery director.

Winget will utilize the brewery’s 10-barrel system, built by American brewing industry leader Sprinkman (Franklin, WI), and will be visible to diners and guests from the adjacent Union Hall restaurant bar.

Sea of ​​Monsters Brewery

The brewery will focus on regional variations of popular American craft beers such as IPAs, stouts and porters, barrel-aged beers, as well as beer styles from around the world, including the exploration and resurrection of ancient recipes.

Sea of ​​Monsters plans to explore sustainably sourced raw materials, with an emphasis on regional hop varieties and locally grown or harvested elements from the Midwest. Additionally, Winget can take advantage of Sea of ​​Monsters’ proximity to the distillery with barrel-aged brews made in Journeyman used whiskey barrels and recipes using similar mashes to Journeyman’s signature spirits.

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