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 BSB, David Pierce and Josh Hill 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.
Roger, his then-wife Amy and her sister Kate (O’Connell, now Lewison) 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.
The Prost wing commences operation as the Public House’s special events area.
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 Bank Street Brewhouse. As the build-out progresses, the first Fringe Fest is held in October.
The Bank Street Brewhouse gastrobrewpub opens in March, at first serving NABC beers brewed at the Pizzeria & Public House. The new DME brewery (15 barrel) at Bank Street Brewhouse opens in August, and distribution to Southern Indiana and Louisville begins later in the autumn.
After almost a quarter-century in business, and having spawned a slew of imitators, the New Albanian Brewing Company shows it can still succeed in business without really trying, as 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 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.
The 15th edition of Gravity Head (February 22) at the Public House … the opening of Lloyd’s Landing, the new beer garden at Bank Street Brewhouse … bomber bottle distribution to selected accounts in Ohio and Florida … the usual slate of events and festivals … it’s going to be a busy year at NABC, and we’re looking forward to it.