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Michigan City's popular Shoreline Brewery and Restaurant is planning a major expansion that will mean twice the seating and 50 percent more brewing capacity. 

The award-winning brewery at 208 Wabash St. by the lakefront in downtown Michigan City will double its seating to about 300 by adding a seasonal beer garden in the parking lot, master brewer and founder Sam Strupeck said. The expansion will result in about 20 new jobs and might make Shoreline the largest brewpub in Northwest Indiana in terms of seating capacity, at least during the summer months.

"We've always thought a beer garden would be complementary to being in Michigan City," Strupeck said.

Shoreline has built a new parking lot just south of the brewery at U.S. 12 and Wabash Street, where a gas station once stood, to make room for a beer garden that's expected to put an end to waits to dine in the acclaimed brewpub. The outdoor area will add about 150 more seats, be open from late spring through fall, and include a stage for live music. It will be the new home of the brewery's annual Red, White and Brews Festival. 

"It's a large investment," Strupeck said.

Craft beer has been booming in Northwest Indiana, where more than 20 breweries are now operating. Three Floyds, another longtime brewery, is in the middle of a $10 million expansion that will boost capacity and let it start distilling liquor like a Dark Lord whisky.

Shoreline, an 11-year-old brewery known for its food like Scotch eggs and poutine, will also expand its kitchen seven-fold. Shoreline, which has a permit to serve alcohol off-site, hopes to expand its growing catering business to weddings and other special events.

Shoreline will add onto its building to expand the kitchen and go from a 10-barrel brewing system to a 15-barrel brewing system, which will boost production by 50 percent and allow it to broaden distribution. Shoreline already has 22-ounce bombers at retailers throughout Northwest Indiana, and is now looking to bottle its craft beer in 12-ounce bottles that would be sold in six-packs and cases.

The craft brewery, which makes 50 different styles of beer, is looking to sell six-packs of beers like Don't Panic English Pale Ale and Benny's American Pale Ale.

"It'll be a little more approachable," Strupeck said. "It's a little more convenient."

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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.