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Northwest Indiana's newest craft brewery, Off Square Brewing in Crown Point, hadn't planned even to look at distribution until after it had a year under its belt.

But the brewery's 120-seat restaurant and brewpub at 11000 Delaware Parkway has proven quite popular, with an hour wait for a table after 5 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, sales manager Barb Smrecansky said.

Renting a mobile can line, the brewery has started to distribute 16-ounce four packs of its Hamilton Porter, a collaboration with the more established Burn 'Em Brewing in Michigan City, and its flagship Long Day India Pale Ale. This week, it's going to release its Pink Cowbell strawberry milkshake IPA and its Cherry Springer cherry milkshake IPA to liquor stores across Northwest Indiana. 

"Hazy New England IPAs are now all the rage," Smrecansky said. "We did a test batch of Pink Cowbell that sold out in a day. That was a half barrel. We made it through the big system, and sold 20 barrels of beer in a few weeks. You have to put a beer like that into distribution."

Off Square is now distributing its craft beers at more than 30 liquor stores across Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties, and will soon start talks with local supermarkets.

"We're distributing from Dyer to Michigan City," Smrecansky said. "We're available from Crown Point to the south to Whiting in the north. I'd sell beer in the lake if I could."

Off Square also distributes to several restaurants and bars across the Region, including Tomato Bar, Stacks Bar & Grill, Doc's Smokehouse and Craft Bar, White Rhino Bar & Grill, AJ's Pizza Co., Region Ale and Bartlett's Gourmet Grill & Tavern. 

"We're all over the place," Smrecansky said. "We started canning because it's been a huge success in the first eight months. The beer was so well received, and the public was ready."

Off Square Brewing already has added a few additional fermenter tanks to its 20 barrel system and is looking at installing its own canning line. As production ramps up, Off Square looks to break into Michigan City, then South Bend and then Fort Wayne as it spreads across northern Indiana.

The goal is to distribute across Indiana, Illinois and Michigan within the next two or three years. Off Square is particularly eyeing Chicago and Indianapolis as major growth markets, but acknowledges the crowded Chicago beer market will be difficult to crack.

"We believe in the quality of our beer and that it will shine through," Smrecansky said. "We have lines in the brewery and repeat customers because we have really great beer in addition to great food."

Off Square Brewing will release its two latest canned beers at the brewery Sunday, with live music from local rock band Nomad Planets from 4 until 7 p.m. The brewery also plans a one-year anniversary party between 2 and 10 p.m. June 2 with special releases, food trucks, live music and a tent.

For more information, visit 219-310-8898 or visit offsquarebrewing.com.


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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.