2 Toms Brewing Company
Jul20

2 Toms Brewing Company

  When you walk in to 2 Toms Brewing Company, you’ll be immediately immersed. The aesthetic and the open concept space are as carefully crafted as the beer in the brew tanks. The polished concrete floor gleams with the reflection of the Edison-style light bulbs, which are encased in glass balls and suspended from black iron industrial light fixtures. As you soak in the mid-century/industrial design, you’ll start to pick up on another theme: repurpose. All the furniture has a story here. You’ll see counter height tables that are made of old bowling alley lanes and reclaimed steel I-beams. There are stools from an old science lab. Jim Beam barrels have been given new life as cocktail tables. The end of an old cable spool is now a rustic coffee table. Even the dining chairs have a story – they’ve been salvaged from a church and refinished. But despite all this attention to creative design, you won’t be able to deny that the brew tanks are the real focal point of the room. They’re showcased behind glass and a ledge with tall low-backed chairs offers you a front row seat for dreaming about the grain fermenting inside. The Story of 2 Toms The story of 2 Toms Brewing Company began when Tom Carpenter’s wife Stacie bought him a 1-gallon home brew kit for this birthday three years ago. “It came with a glass jug, hops, yeast – everything you’d need to make beer on the stove,” he told me. Tom says he’s always liked craft beer and it was fun to do on a small scale. “Getting to travel around to different breweries and taprooms, seeing the creative brewing styles coming out, talking to owners and brewers, I really enjoyed it.”The name came about because Stacie joked that Tom was so busy he needed to clone himself so they could have ‘two Toms’. “As far as the brand, right out of the gate I acted like a brewery. I have a business background and a creative and engineering mind. I created an Untappd.com account and printed up some Avery labels for my brews.” Tom is part of a local group called Pour Misfits, a craft beer group that meets to share and trade different beers and talk hops and malt. Pour Misfits is now worldwide, with members numbering over 3000. “I really respected their pallets, so I brought them my homebrew. They liked it and my beer developed a following. Eventually, people were begged us to open a business so they could get access to my beer full-time – and here we are,” he explained, pushing his cap back...

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Fostering creativity in the ’05 – Collective State
Jan19

Fostering creativity in the ’05 – Collective State

Tucked into the East State Village, across from Zinnia’s Bakery, is Collective State. This is Jon Brown’s latest brainchild. On an especially cold Fort Wayne day, it was wonderful to walk into the warm, sunlit shop and have Jon offer me a cup of freshly brewed Conjure Coffee. We bellied-up to the counter and he filled me in on his vision for the shop. “We started out as the Fort Wayne Arts Collective,” he said, over his coffee cup, “we’ve been doing art drops all over town for years, trying to make art more accessible to everyone regardless of income or background. I think art is a priority in people’s lives, but if you walk into a gallery and see that $200 price tag, it gets overshadowed by things like utilities and bills. Art drops change that, anyone can take art home and enjoy it.” The Arts Collective also did the Brass Rail mural, working with Jerrod Tobias. Through his work with Fort Wayne Free Art Collective, Brown discovered that he wants to devote his skill set and resources to being a advocate for the other artists, musicians, and makers in our community. “For the size Fort Wayne is, our creative community is stellar! We’re trying to sustain artists here and provide them a way to stay here instead of moving to a larger city,” explained Brown. Collective State is a physical space for that vision. He further described it as a low maintenance way to get art out, where artists can gain some money and support themselves. “We want to show Fort Wayne that there are tons of working artists here. It’s all from right here. That’s what the reaction has been when people come into the shop – ‘wow, they live here?’ Yes, they do!” Brown enthused. “Coming here and shopping you’re shopping local, supporting community, going directly back to the creative’s that live in your city.” As we stood talking, my eyes swept over the arrangement of prints, pint glasses, jewelry, stickers, hoodies, and woven goods. I noticed some CDs. Brown spoke eagerly about his desire to provide a space for local bands’ merchandise. “We have some wonderful local record stores, but [band merchandise] isn’t a focus. We want to give people an opportunity to get artists’ [merchandise] out there. If you don’t go to the bar or the show, where do you get the CD or t-shirt?” Not Just Retail Space So what can we expect from this new shop in the ’05? Brown wants to do as much as possible! “We’ll have art markets, food trucks, music, artist workshops, installation space, pop up shops…it’s not just retail space. We’re hoping it will become a hub for the community,” said Brown. “It’s so much about community...

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Kekionga Cider Company is booming in its first year
Nov24

Kekionga Cider Company is booming in its first year

Logan Barger and Tyler Butcher stumbled into something wonderful one Saturday afternoon three years ago, which ultimately led to the creation of the Kekiogna Cider Company, which has been producing hard cider on Fort Wayne’s northeast side since earlier this year. “Tyler called me up and asked if I wanted to make some cider,” said Barger. “His cousin had an old basket press – my brother had an apple tree – so we just decided to go for it.” It was a learning experience at first for the pair. “Our first batch was very vinegar-like…we didn’t wash the apples, we used every worm apple…it was pretty bad,” he laughed. “We didn’t even know the type of apples we were working with, but we kept tweaking things from there.” At first, Barger and Butcher enjoyed making cider, because it was a chance to get together and have fun. But then they got to a point where they wanted to make good cider. Barger says, “I did a lot of reading, checked out YouTube videos, just did a bunch of research. The goal was to keep learning more and getting better.” In the beginning, Tyler’s “Busch Light fan” father acted as a sort of tongue-in-cheek cider sommelier. “We gave it to him and he was surprised! He said, ‘I can drink this!’” said Barger. “We gave it to more and more people, and they liked it, too. We realized maybe we were actually making something people will enjoy and we can market.” Barger has been in alcohol distribution since the age of 21. With cider making, he’s enjoyed the opportunity to transition to the supplier side of the industry. Kekionga’s building, the Goeglein Mill, is owned by the Goeglein family, and it was originally an apple mill. When Barger and Butcher heard that Don and Greg Goeglein were thinking of making a hard cider, they jumped at the chance to become business partners instead of competitors. “Fort Wayne is really growing, and it supports multiple breweries now. We weren’t sure about multiple cideries, and it made sense to work together,” said Barger. As the only cidery in town, Kekionga’s business is booming. They started with one fermentation tank at the end of June and by October they upgraded to three. Demand is high and they plan to add more tanks in the near future. “People have been really receptive! More and more newbie’s show up, and we’ve got a die-hard loyal fan base already, too. It’s exciting!” said Barger. What makes Kekionga’s cider unique? “Kekionga” (meaning “blackberry patch”) was the name of the Miami tribe settlement located in what is now Fort...

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Live Storytelling Thrives at The Trap Door
Oct16

Live Storytelling Thrives at The Trap Door

Get Directions When you hear someone tell a live story, you form a personal connection with them. Fort Wayne’s Ben Larson says, “you get an understanding of people that is rare these days, with everybody being so attached to social media. You just get a small glimpse of a person [on social media] and we’re so quick to make snap judgments without getting to know someone, where they’ve been, what’s in their mind. Storytelling helps alleviate that; people are now craving that instead of micro-doses of humanity. We’re 3D people with our own lives, our own back-stories.” Background Larson was an English major in college, and he’s always loved a good story. He became interested in storytelling as theatre after discovering podcasts like “The Moth,” “Risk” and “Snap Judgment.” In 2015, he decided to bring the idea to life in Fort Wayne with The Trap Door. It began with a one-off show, but then the concept was shelved for about a year. In the late summer/early fall of 2016, Larson decided to revive the project. When John Cheesebrew and Becca Bell came on board, the project really began to take off. These three have known each other for years. Larson had worked creatively with Cheesebrew before – they used to play together in the black metal band Fodalla. “John is a good sounding board, he’s brutally honest and he has great ideas,” said Larson. “Becca has been a writer forever and she has a stronger organizational aspect than John or [me]. Also, I knew she could contribute to the creative side. So we all had different sets of skills and they combined well.” Format The Trap Door does two different types of shows, alternating each month. There are story slams and showcase shows. The story slam is a contest. Anyone interested in sharing a story will put their name into a hat. Names are draw and each storyteller tells a five to ten minute story. There are two winners: one chosen by the audience, one by the judges. “We’ve been fortunate in that we haven’t had to worry about filling up time. Sometimes ten minutes before the show we’ll only have two names, but by the time the show starts we’ve gotten 15,” said Larson. In contrast, showcase shows are planned out ahead of time. The team will accept pitches in the form of a 100-word synopsis, and then they’ll choose the storytellers. They occasionally reach out to specific people, but that varies depending on the month. Storytellers will prep their stories ahead of time, working with Larson, Bell and Cheesebrew before the show. Then they decide on an...

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