Graduate student creates 'Indiana in a Pint' documentary

Craft beer film serves as master's thesis

Three customers drink at New Boswell Brewery Company in Richmond, Ind., during the filming of
Three customers drink at New Boswell Brewery Company in Richmond, Ind., during the filming of

Watch "Indiana in a Pint: Brewing in the Crossroads of America"

Indiana in a Pint: Brewing in the Crossroads of America from Robbie Mehling on Vimeo.

With 60 plus breweries and more opening every day, Indiana is quickly becoming known as a home for exceptional craft beer.

It was in 2012 at a brewery opening in Evansville, Ind., that Mehling came up with the idea to document Indiana breweries for his master’s thesis. Robbie Mehling, a telecommunications graduate student who graduates this month, has spent the last two years learning everything about Indiana beer.


Director of "Indiana in a Pint"

and a Ball State graduate student

“I was starting to get more into better beer and craft beer and local beer,” he said. “And it just kind of hit me that I wanted to do a documentary about the evolution of brewing in the state.”

He started work on  “Indiana in a Pint: Brewing in the Crossroads of America” in the winter of 2012 and finished production this April.

Mehling said about 10 people, all from Ball State, helped create the documentary.

In “Indiana in a Pint,” he talks to several brewers and brewery owners.

Before the 20th century, Indiana was home to more than 200 breweries, the documentary shows, but those numbers have dwindled throughout the years. A big reason for the decline had to do with prohibition.

Prohibition in Indiana lasted from 1918 until 1933, when it was eventually repealed with the ratification of the 21st Amendment.

“People think it’s a new thing, but it’s really just a continuation of Indiana’s rich history,” Mehling said in an interview.

Indiana’s first brewery,  New Boswell Brewing Company, opened in Richmond in 1816 — the same year Indiana gained statehood.

By 1948, there were 13 active breweries in the state, the documentary states. By 1980, there was one. It wasn’t until 1988 that the resurgence of craft breweries began.

Three customers drink at New Boswell Brewery Company in Richmond, Ind., during the filming of “Indiana in a Pint.” As the state’s first brewery, it opened the same year Indiana became a state, 1816. PHOTO PROVIDED BY ROBBIE MEHLING

Bob Ostrander, co-author of “Hoosier Beer,” describes Indiana’s current brewing scene as dynamic, noting in the film that not all breweries have to start out as huge operations to be successful.

“You can start small and grow bigger,” he said in the documentary. “You don’t have to be big to start with, and that’s nice.”

Mehling suggests Sun King beers from Indianapolis to anyone who is looking for an authentic Indiana beer.

“They’re all about the local aspect,” he said in an interview. “They distribute exclusively in Indiana, even though they have been asked to have their beer elsewhere,. They fully support the Indianapolis community in everything they do.”

Clay Robinson, co-founder of the  Sun King Brewery, seemed to agree, citing in the documentary that the local movement is a big part of his brewery’s success.

“At the end of the day, we’re happy to be where we’re at,” he said in the film. “We’re proud of our community.”

Mehling hopes people who see his documentary will learn more about local brewing and the role Indiana has played in craft beer history.

“It’s a fun thing that’s being produced right down the street from you,” he said in an interview. “I think people really get into that.”

There are more than 60 breweries located across Indiana, and 20 are in Indianapolis including the popular Sun King Brewery and Triton Brewing Company.

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