My name is Clay Robinson and together with my good friend, fellow brewer and business partner, Dave Colt, we recently opened Sun King Brewing Company in Indianapolis, Ind., a production facility with a tasting room open 10 hours a week.
How did you get started in the craft brewing industry?
Dave and I are both brewers who got into the industry over a decade ago by accident while working at brewpubs in Indianapolis, myself at Rock Bottom Indy and Dave at the now defunct Circle V. Both of us expressed an interest in brewing and edged our way into assistant positions shortly after arrival on staff. Dave is now our director of brewing operations and I am our assistant brewer, sales, marketing, PR and frequent delivery guy.
What’s new at your brewery?
Everything is new around here except our equipment, a used 15 bbl JVNW Brewery purchased from Stone Coast Brewing in Portland. Our experience is as pub brewers, so we are learning the ropes of distribution (Indiana law allows for self-distribution), sales, marketing, etc.
What’s the best part of being a part of the craft brewing community?
The people. Everywhere we go and almost every craft brewer we encountered while getting our brewery off the ground was open to share information and experiences with us in order to help us better our plan and avoid nasty pitfalls.
What do you like to do in your time away from the brewery?
Having just opened, we get very little of that, but I like to travel with my girlfriend Staraya and be outdoors experiencing the world, and Dave tries to spend as much time as possible with his wife, Amber, and his three daughters.
What’s your favorite food and beer pairing?
Anything our friend Chef JJ of BackYard (www.chefjjs.com) creates on his Big Green Egg and we pair with Sun King beer! Since we don’t operate a pub or restaurant, we do a lot of beer dinner and food pairing events with Chef JJ. In recent memory I would have to say that the Bitter Druid ESB paired with grilled tiger prawns and citrus risotto at our GABF Preview Dinner was absolutely amazing! The way that the smoky character of the grilled prawns accentuated the bready malt character combined with how the Glacier hop finish worked with the citrus risotto was out of this world.
What’s your biggest accomplishment unrelated to your job?
Mine would be the enormous ZZ Top style beard I grew over the course of four years (2003-2007). Dave says, “I woke up this morning and I had myself a beer!” (We are heavily entrenched with brewing as our passion for so long that it’s hard to separate ourselves from it.)
What’s your favorite beer that your brewery does not produce?
Clay: Oskar Blues Gordon. Dave: Green Flash IPA.
What’s the most exotic travel destination at which you’ve had a chance to sample the local beer?
Clay: Homer, Alaska. Dave: They don’t let me out much!
As you can tell we don’t take ourselves too seriously, which can be evidenced with a visit to www.sunkingbrewing.com.