NABC started brewing fresh, flavorful, award-winning beers in 2002, becoming New Albany’s first working brewery since 1935. Our original “R ‘n’ D” brewery can be viewed from the pizzeria’s dining room. Brewer Ben Minton brews seasonal recipes, specialties, one-off batches and tasty research experiments.
Our main production brewery opened in 2009 and is located in the heart of downtown New Albany at 415 Bank Street. At NABC Cafe & Brewhouse, Josh Hill – Head of Brewing Operations – and team brew, keg, and bottle NABC’s biggest sellers and seasonals for both on-premise consumption and local distribution.
Following are a handful of signposts on our journey from back then, until right now. We at NABC are longtime lovers of beer, food and pub culture. We live and love our working lives, and when you stop by, we hope you enjoy our world as much as we do.
The O’Connell family transforms a failing Noble Roman’s franchise off Grant Line Road at 3312 Plaza Drive on New Albany’s north side into a perky independent pizzeria called Sportstime Pizza.
Rich O’s BBQ is added in the same building, on the other side of a common kitchen shared by it and Sportstime Pizza. Amy O’Connell is the operator of Rich O’s.
Rich O’s BBQ is redubbed Rich O’s Public House when Roger Baylor joins the business. From this point forward, there is a conscious decision to move the Public House’s beer program onto ever higher ground, away from the typical slavish allegiance to mass-market American beer, and to fully embrace the revolution of better beer in bottled and draft form.
Sisters Amy Baylor and Kate Lewison, along with Amy’s then husband, Roger Baylor, take complete control of the business and reincorporate as the New Albanian Brewing Company, with the stated intention of eventually brewing on site.
As the resources necessary to begin on-site brewing gradually are amassed, Rich O’s became regionally (and in due time, nationally) renowned for its specialized “guest” beer program. Taps are constantly added, and the bottled list continually expanded to include as many of the best examples of beer styles as available from America and the world.
The first ever Gravity Head is held.
With a small 4-barrel brewing system salvaged from the defunct Tucker (Salem IN) and Silver Creek (Sellersburg) breweries, NABC begins brewing operations.
In preparation for NABC’s expansion, customers at the original Plaza Drive location are encouraged to begin thinking about Sportstime & Rich O’s as one unit, the NABC Pizzeria & Public House. Few do.
Renovation work begins at the former “day old bread store” at 415 Bank Street in downtown New Albany, future site of NABC’s Cafe & Brewhouse. As the build-out progresses, the first Fringe Fest is held in October.
The restaurant at 415 Bank Street opens in March, at first serving NABC beers brewed at the Pizzeria & Public House. The new DME 15 barrel brewery at the Bank Street location opens in August. Distribution to Indiana and Louisville begins in the Fall.
After almost a quarter-century in business, NABC is grateful to the community for being chosen in several categories in the annual Louisville Eccentric Observer (LEO) reader poll:
- Best Beer List: 1st place, NABC Pizzeria & Public House
- Best Restaurant in Southern Indiana: 1st place, NABC Bank Street Brewhouse
- Best Local Beer: 1st place, NABC Hoptimus
- Best Local Brewery: 2nd place, New Albanian Brewing Company
The New Albanian Brewing Company marked its first quarter-century of existence with a day-long picnic and concert at New Albany’s Riverfront Amphitheater on Sunday, July 22, 2012. (It should be noted this is the birthday of Sharon O’Connell – mom to the Sisters – who is a one of the main reasons the business is in existence!). It was a day-long event called “25 Years of Beer & Loathing,” with music by friends old and new, and plenty of NABC beer on hand. To the 1,000 plus folks who came to the waterfront to say hello, we thank you.
12 oz bottling begins at NABC Cafe & Brewhouse!