Real estate firm brewing its own craft beer

Jason Bazarko adds grains to Prime Real Estate's Prime A'Peal New England Hazy IPA.

Some of Northwest Indiana’s newest craft brewers aren’t bearded, bespectacled 20-somethings in ironic T-shirts who have been testing various hop mixes while homebrewing for years.

Instead, they’re buttoned-down real estate agents.

For the last three years, real estate agents at Prime Real Estate in downtown Crown Point have brewed craft beers they’ve gifted to clients, quaffed at staff parties and made available at local taprooms.

The Summertime Prime the real estate agency brewed last year sold out at Crown Brewing in less than four hours.

Last week, more than a dozen real estate agents helped brew Prime A’Peal, a 6.5 ABV New England Hazy IPA with 18 IBUs, sweet orange peel, and Citra, Zythos and Cascade hops.

“As a real estate company, we know it can be stressful for our agents, especially during the peak season,” marketing director Andrew Knies said. “So we’ve always been sure to provide a good social experience for our agents. We have coffee and bar areas as social spaces in the office, and we brew a beer with them.”

To lure agents into its fold, Prime Real Estate offers other unique perks such as health insurance, a green screen in the office where they can film marketing segments, free admission to a real estate conference with national speakers at Munster’s Center for the Visual and Performing Arts, and staff parties at venues like Journeyman Distillery and Shady Creek Winery.

They’ve been brewing real estate-themed beers such as the Primed Up Porter made with vanilla beans from Madagascar one agent brought in, and coffee, in an allusion to the famous “coffee is for closers” line from David Mamet's classic “Glengarry Glen Ross.”

Typically, they brew whatever agency President Joshua Lybolt and Knies happen to be drinking at the time. With the help of Crown Brewing, they’re making a barrel of hazy New England IPA. It will be bottled in 22-ounce bombers agents can buy at cost and give as a closing gift to buyers and it will be distributed at local taprooms, including Crown Brewing in Crown Point and Pour House in Valparaiso. It will also be awarded to top-selling agents at a staff party.

“It’s great branding,” Lybolt said. “Real estate agents frequent restaurants, and it can spark a lot of conversation when your beer is on tap.”

For more information on when and where the beer will be released, visit facebook.com/PrimeRealEstateCrownPoint.

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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.