Oh Danny Boy
Carmel’s Danny Boy Beer Works Is a Local Favorite
Photographer / Ellie Sophia Photography
Located in the retail portion of Village of West Clay at 12702 Meeting House Road, bustling and popular Danny Boy Beer Works lends an energy to the surrounding businesses. For many, the industrial-looking establishment has become the place of choice to grab a beer or cocktail and some barbecue. The area has not always enjoyed the commerce it does today. In 2012, when Kevin “KP” Paul, already the owner of Carmel’s Brockway Pub, decided to build the Tank 13 Building to house a brewpub, many people were surprised.
“We were looking at several different areas such as Fountain Square, Zionsville and downtown Indianapolis when we met with Wendy Horn and George Sweet of Brenwick Development Company,” Paul says. “We had lived in the village since 2002, so we knew the retail area was struggling. They convinced us that what the district needed was a good anchor and they allowed us to construct a stand-alone building in what we considered was the best spot.”
The gamble paid off and when Danny Boy Beer Works opened in 2015, it was the catalyst to a small business explosion. However, there is another layer to the back story of how it came to be. It involves inspiration drawn from traveling plus a lot of research.
Paul and his first, late wife Lainie came to Carmel in 2001 when he co-founded Blue Horseshoe Solutions, a consulting company that provides enterprise software implementation and supply chain expertise. One aspect the company specializes in is the beverage manufacturing and distribution industry, both non-alcoholic and alcoholic. But even before Paul was becoming an expert in managing aspects of the beverage industry, he was interested in pub culture.
“I’m an Irish kid from Corktown in Detroit,” he says. “Prior to moving to Carmel, Lainie and I traveled all over Europe, including England and Ireland. I was influenced by the European style pubs we encountered there.”
In 2007, Paul gathered the ideas he had gleaned from the St. James Gate area, a Guinness brewing site in Dublin, to open the Brockway Pub. Brockway continues to be successful and is known for serving up pints of Guinness and traditional pub food. However, while traveling in Europe, Paul had dreamed of owning his own brewpub. Intrigued with the idea of producing his own beer, he started brewing at home in 2010.
“I got with my buddy Prescott Sanders who also brewed beer at home. By the end of the year we had four different beers: Training Day which became our flagship brew, Miss Ginger Witte Urban Wheat, a popular blend of citrus and ginger, a seasonal Black IPA and Mac Daddy which came from a recipe that my father had once used,” Paul says. “Lainie said, ‘Let’s get licensed and sell it.’ So, we did and we began distributing it.”
When the demand for the brews exceeded what his space could produce, Paul realized he needed a larger facility and Danny Boy Beer Works came into being. The name was a nod to his Irish upbringing and the Tank 13 building which houses the brewhouse was modeled after a firehouse he admired in South Boston. He partnered with Patrick Mullen to bring Patrick’s Smokehouse Kitchen inside the brewhouse. Guests sitting amongst the huge tanks in the oversized brewpub can munch on smoked brisket, ribs and other menu items while quaffing down beer that was made right there.
“It’s based on a traditional U.K. style pub but with a west coast spin,” he says. “The number 13 has always seemed to show up at different points in my life so it had to be part of the building’s name. We have a lot of fun naming brews such as Take Me to Church and Holy Water which are both stouts. In 2017, we began to distill spirits and our Buddha Vodka, Sons of London Gin and Bucket List Rye Whisky have all done very well.”
Daily specials and an ever-changing calendar of events keep thing lively. Mondays are Mexican themed with special prices for food items and drinks such as house margaritas or grapefruit spritzers. Tuesdays are reserved for trivia and might include taco and growler specials. The themes for other days of the week vary and alternate. They have featured muscle car nights or bagpipers and include a price break for selected beverages and edibles.
“We always have three huge special events every year,” Paul says. “We celebrate All Saints Day late in the year and in February there is a Great Gatsby flapper party where we raise money for charity by providing a speakeasy atmosphere with casino-style gambling. Our big one is St. Patrick’s Day.”
These days, patrons have a lot of choices to make. The brewery produces more than 30 beers plus their line of spirits. Monarch Beverage Company and Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits distribute their offerings to bars and package stores. The brewery has expanded to include locations in Bloomington, South Bend and St. Clair, Michigan.
“It’s become an oversized brewpub,” Paul says. “Today, my wife Megan is the general manager. We were fortunate that Danny Boy Beer Works was successful in its Village of West Clay location and we’re grateful for our business friends that surround it.”
Visit Danny Boy Beer Works at 12702 Meeting House Road in Carmel or online at DannyBoyBeerWorks.com.