Meet Andrew Elegante, one of South Bend Brew Werks managing partners. Brew Werks officially opened its doors on Saturday, Sept. 20. The brewpub is located downtown at 216 South Michigan Street, right next to the State Theatre marquis. It is for customers 21 years and older.
Q: What is the impact of the brewpub on downtown South Bend?
A: That’s a tough one. There are several to choose from. Economically, we’re bringing in revenue and paying 11 employees. It’s tough to estimate how much is new money versus people taking their spending dollars elsewhere. Culturally, we’re bringing a concept that is popular in other cities into our own downtown and trying to support local visual artists, as well as local food producers. Socially, we’re making donations to community partners at levels that have an opportunity to produce real impact both now and years down the line. Overall, our goal is to give people a different perspective on South Bend, one that is sustainable, innovative and high quality, as well as showing other businesses a new way of doing business.
Q: What attracted you to the location?
A: I was drawn to the location by the beauty and history of the theater and the opportunity to be a major part of the revitalization of the city. My original role in this location was as the GM of the theater, so I have a strong personal connection as well. Compared to other locations downtown, this was the right size in the right space to take advantage of traffic from the Morris Performing Arts Center, Century Center, State Theater and major downtown events such as Art Beat.
Q: What do you wish more people knew about Brew Werks?
A: Right now I think the biggest hole for us is explaining where the food is coming from and how it’s prepared. We’ve had customers bring up issues about portion size and price, but once we explain how the food is prepared, that it’s sourced locally, and that the portion sizes are designed to be healthy and reasonable, then the light bulb over their head goes off, and it makes more sense.
Q: Any exciting plans for the future?
A: Our first plan will be to expand into lunch hours and growler sales as our beer production ramps up. It looks like it will be about three weeks before that happens. We’re also looking to host fun events and activities to add something a little different. The first thing we have planned is a Beer & Art Gallery event every third Tuesday of the month. I have a team of marketing students at ND working on some other ideas, so I’m excited to see what they come up with. I’m also working with a second ND team on a few projects, one of which is a food truck. We can use that for catering and other things so we’re excited about that opportunity. And of course, we’ve got more new beers coming on tap all the time. Somewhere in there, we’ll find time to sleep too.