It all began with a broken foot in the winter of 1999.
After surgery to repair the foot and three months of non-weight bearing activities, Mike decided he needed some sort of new hobby. After a Dr.’s visit, he stopped at a local wine and homebrew shop and headed out the door with two box kits; one for wine and one for beer. That purchase was the first step. As with most newbies to brewing, it started on the kitchen stove and ended with a sticky mess to clean-up. At that time, wine was Mike’s choice over the full flavor of craft beer. He did not brew any other beer for many years.
Ten years later, after rekindling a lost friendship with an old buddy, Mike asked if he had ever brewed beer. It did not take too much pondering on either part and brewing started all over. The spring of 2009 came with a slight upgrade of brewing equipment and use of the garage instead of the kitchen. That second brew was all it took to be hooked on craft brewing as a hobby.
Mike quickly switched from kits to brewing with all grains and ditched bottles in favor of kegging. Classes were taken, books were read and a custom built homebrew stand came in the spring of 2013. It was within that time that his thoughts crossed the line between thinking of craft brewing as a hobby to the desire to build a business. The walk of faith began.
The original plan was to open a small brewery for growler fills and maybe the occasional pint night. By reaching out to other brewers and visiting numerous breweries, research led Mike to believe he could do more. Mike’s brother-in-law, Fred Paris, also had an idea in the works. He considered Mike’s dreams and desires to do more and blended them with his own vision.
As a past mayor of Franklin, Fred’s vision was to see the city continue to grow and redevelop. Fred had a plan in place to purchase two buildings on West Jefferson Street and turn them into an open-air restaurant inspired by a European vacation. Fred invited Mike to be a part of the venture. The next two years brought a “hurry up and wait” mentality as the purchase of the former Sparkle Cleaners and Juke Box buildings took longer than anticipated. Mike and his wife, Jenni, used the time to continue research, finalize plans, and brew for friends and family. Shale Creek Brewing was becoming reality.
With an anticipated opening of Summer 2015, Shale Creek Brewing will be in the front half of the old Sparkle Cleaners building. The brewery will be a 5 barrel, all electric system featuring four or five house Ales, an occasional Lager, seasonal brews, and guest taps. A limited food menu will be offered in house and a full menu will be available from the on-site, independently operated restaurant. Both the brewery and restaurant will share some common dining areas. The shared dining/entertainment area will be under a retractable glass roof. There will be a dance floor and stage for live entertainment and possible private use as well.
The naming of Shale Creek Brewing
Naming a business is not as easy as one might think. There is so much that goes into it and I honestly struggled with that for some time. With Jenni being my biggest supporter and cheerleader, I wanted it to involve her in some way. It finally came to me one spring afternoon in 2013 while we were walking on our Brown County property. Jenni commented on the shale in the creek and how it was one of her favorite things in nature. Sitting on a downed tree the light bulb finally came on and that was it. The name Shale Creek Brewing was born that afternoon in Brown County, IN. ~ Mike