Bank Street Brewhouse, home to the main brewing operation of New Albanian Brewing Company, will close its doors this spring.
Its sister business, located off Grant Line Road at 3312 Plaza Drive, will continue operating as a pizza place and public house. But the main focus of the Bank Street location, in downtown New Albany at 415 Bank St., was for production brewing on its 15-barrel brewing operation. As competition in the craft beer market has increased, distribution at New Albanian has decreased.
A statement issued by owners Amy Baylor and Kate Lewison said, in part, “The distribution business for craft beer can be volatile. With more and more breweries coming online and off-premise shelf space being limited, there is only so much space for tap handles for breweries.”
The statement said Baylor and Lewison, who are sisters, will “switch gears” and focus on their pizza business. However, New Albanian will continue to brew on its smaller research and development system located at the Grant Line Road location.
While some beers, such as Frankensteiner, a Belgian hefeweissen, will no longer be produced, many longstanding favorites will continue to be brewed, including Hoptimus Double IPA, 15-B Porter and others.
Lewison said the brewery will cease bottling its beers, and distribution will be discontinued “for the foreseeable future.”
The building is owned by Steve Resch, and Lewison said they will work with him to try and sell the building and equipment as a turnkey for another brewery.
New Albanian originally opened as Sportstime Pizza in 1987 off Grant Line Road, later adding Rich O’s Public House in the adjacent space with a shared kitchen.
Sportstime has remained a draw, and the pub has long been an attraction for beer lovers. In particular, it has a strong audience in nearby Indiana University Southeast.
Bank Street Brewhouse opened in 2009 in a former Rainbow Bread factory; the business then was co-owned with Roger Baylor. Food service has come and gone, but the brewing operation continued. Over the last couple of years, however, distribution and bottling has been scaled back.
Steve Powell, owner of Taco Steve, is a longtime friend and past employee of Sportstime and New Albanian. He launched a food truck that eventually moved into a space in the back of Destinations Booksellers, also in downtown New Albany, before moving into the Bank Street Brewhouse kitchen last year.