Tuesday, March 04, 2014

New Albany's Donum Dei Brewery, coming soon to Grant Line Road.

Since the following was written and posted at NA Confidential in early January, I've met Richard "Rick" Otey on several occasions. He and his business partner are moving steadily forward, with a target date of May to be up and running. Otey's goals -- local beer, light food and comfy coffee shop-style seating -- strike me as reasonable. There may be yet another brewery in the works for New Albany; if you know anything about Wrecker Brewing Company, give me a shout.

(January 7, 2014)

I must confess to finding is somewhat amazing, and perhaps even admirable, that a fellow New Albanian has planned a new brewery, bought equipment and signed a lease without someone, somewhere telling me about it.

Well, why not? It's the sort of era when not one but two separate groups look to start a brewery in Tell City. I think it's a great thing, and so here's what little I know about the advent of Donum Dei Brewery.

My first clue came two months ago, when I saw a list of Indiana breweries in development, as prepared by the Brewers of Indiana Guild. Then John Wurth at LouisvilleBeer.com put together a page tracking the progress of brewing start-ups in metro Louisville, which pinpointed an address that sounded curiously similar to that of NABC's Pizzeria & Public House.

And so it is: 3211 Grant Line Road, which as it turns out, is the precise storefront once occupied by Earth Friends Cafe, in the 1990s strip building behind El Nopal. Where'd that garage door come from?

Yesterday Blake drove me past, and I snapped the photos above. Donum Dei means "Gift of God." And that's about all we know about it at present.

For quite some time, it has been a goal of mine to convince both city and indie business operators in the Grant Line Road commercial zone between McDonald Lane and the interstate to combine efforts and market the area as College Park, University Woods (prescient, those apartment builders of old) or some such tag to make the connection with IU Southeast and beautify and rationalize the vicinity. Having another brewery across the street fits perfectly. The Blair family is renovating the ramshackle former employment office into a dance studio. Now all we need is for a family-owned Turkish joint to move into the space left vacant when The Exchange moved downtown.

We just might succeed in spite of ourselves, which is the time-honored (read: only) formula in New Albany.

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