Tin Man Brewing Company

The interior of the Tin Man Brewing Company Kokomo location inside the depot district.

Indiana’s second largest brewery has bought a stake in Tin Man Kokomo, bringing with it a rebrand.

Indianapolis-based Sun King Brewing has bought a minority stake in the Kokomo Brewing Company, which operated under the name Tin Man Kokomo, for an undisclosed amount, according to a press release from the company.

Current owner of Kokomo Brewing Company, Amanda Lewton, will still manage the day-to-day and overall business operations, but Sun King will oversee the brewing program and aid in recipe development and brewing operations, as well as provide operational, marketing and logistical support.

The downtown brewery, located at 500 N. Buckeye St., will begin operating as the Sun King Kokomo Small Batch Brewery in July and will offer Sun King’s core beers, such as its Scottish ale Weemac and pale ale Osiris, seasonal and specialty beers, along with small batch beers that will brewed in and served in Kokomo and other Sun King taproom locations.

Sun King was founded in Indianapolis in 2009 and operates four locations in downtown Indianapolis, Broad Ripple, Carmel and Fisher

Both Sun King co-founders Clay Robinson and Dave Colt and Lewton said the partnership is a natural evolution of an already friendly relationship.

“Her and her team run a really great shop,” Colt said. “Her vibe is copacetic with our vibe and the way we think about beer, presenting it, guest interaction – just the whole nine yards.”

In 2017, Tin Man Brewing Company was sold to Louisville-based venture capital and real estate firm Neace Ventures. The brewing company closed its only other tap room location in Evansville in 2017, reopened in 2018, only to close again that same year.

With a tie to the original Evansville location cut and operating as Tin Man in name only, Lewton said she began soliciting advice from Colt and fellow co-founder Omar Robinson on how to move forward with the business. Conversations regarding the new partnership really took off once the COVID-19 pandemic began.

“Dave was like ‘You know, it’s a weird time, and how do we change things around, pivot, continue to grow and expand?’ and asked me if I would be interested,” Lewton said. “I said ‘Of course I’d be interested.’”

The steampunk logo and branding of Tin Man will be retired and replaced by Sun King branding. Also going away are all of Tin Man’s beers once they run out. Starting this week, the brewery will begin selling Sun King beers.

Lewton did say, however, the new brewery will be making a mango IPA for its many fans of Mango Malfunction.

“We sold a ton of mango IPA,” Lewton said, adding that brewing of the new beer could begin as early as next week. “People love mango IPA, so we will have a mango IPA and it will be a Sun King version. It won’t be the same recipe, but it will follow what everyone liked about it.”

While a lot will be changing for the brewery, a lot will be staying the same.

The brewery will keep its family and dog friendly atmosphere and its current staff. Board games will still be available to play and popcorn to eat. The brewery will still not serve its own food, but will continue to partner with nearby and local businesses and allow outside food.

“I feel like we’ve created something really special here, and it’s not just me, it’s my team, and they see my vision and they fulfill it,” Newton said. “We don’t want to change any of that because that’s our heart, that’s our soul. We want to continue to serve the community, and this gives us a chance to have a little more impact and bring people to this town to see the changes that have happened here.”

Tyler Juranovich can be reached at 765-454-8577, by email at tyler.juranovich@kokomotribune.com or on Twitter at @tylerjuranovich

Tyler Juranovich can be reached at 765-454-8577, by email at tyler.juranovich@kokomotribune.com or on Twitter at @tylerjuranovich

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