What Makes A Great Community?

October 26, 2018

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OK, so it's not the only thing that makes a great community, but great beer is a good indicator of a place you should live/work. Breweries and brewery taprooms are becoming that mythical "third place" (home - office - taproom) for a new generation [See article in], like coffeehouses were for GenX and pubs for generations past. Taprooms are harbingers of hipness or maybe the level of litness (to use an Urban Dictionary word) of a neighborhood. I don't know for sure, but I suspect our developers are consciously or unconsciously using this "litness test" as a factor in selecting the locations of our next communities. 

According to a study by Infogroup, which has been cited by several national publications, Milhaus currently has locations or is building in 3 of the top 10 "Beer Cities", Cincinnati (8), Milwaukee (9), and Pittsburgh (10). Our hometown, Indy is pretty close to cracking that list too with around 130 breweries in the metro area and being ranked by Infogroup as one of the top 15 where beer is preferred by residents. 

Looking at breweries and taprooms within or very close to the Fletcher Place/Fountain Square neighborhood in which Milhaus' headquarters and three of our past or present developments (Mozzo, Pinnex, and 1234 Prospect) sit, we find 10 breweries and a handful more dedicated taprooms. 


People who work here at HQ know that we observe Beer Friday around the kegerator (the IT team built) with beer from one of these breweries and others just outside this map at least bi-weekly. Nothing releases the tension of a tough week or brings people together on a personal level like Beer Friday (we provide wine, soft drinks, and GF options too).  I am lucky to get to be the beer selector/buyer around the office and never have a lack of good options to choose from in this 'hood. All of our downtown Indy developments offer the same great beer proximity for our residents.

VimVigor-59.jpgOur developer, Jake Dietrich, has taken this "proximity to breweries" thing one step further in Milwaukee at Vim+Vigor Apartments. Not only are the apartments built on ground that was once two blocks of the massive historic Pabst Brewery complex, it's named after an old Pabst Blue Ribbon tagline, and is near Leinenkugel's, Lakefront, Broken Bat, City Lights and Eagle Park Breweries. But wait! There's more! Not satisfied to just sit on hollowed beer ground, we're adding a homebrew studio amenity free for the residents to use. By offering the opportunity for resident-beer lovers to craft the beverage they love, we're affirming the importance of beer to modern living.

Beer brewing is something I dabble in and in any great community these days there is a subcommunity of homebrewers toiling away in their basements or garages. Every year I participate in the Indiana Brewer's Cup that brings together this subcommunity and professional brewers who graduated from their basements to microbrewery status and beyond. Entries are capped at 1,500 beers (850 from home brewers alone) and there is always a scramble to get your beer submitted in-time. This year, I was able to create a beer with some friends and colleagues from Milhaus and submit it to the Brewer's Cup. We didn't win, but we sure had a fun time doing it and came out with a few gallons of some super-strong Russian Imperial Stout to enjoy and compare with our favorite craft beers. 


Taking a quick survey of other current Milhaus properties, I find the following brewery proximity numbers and notable breweries: Arsenal 201, Pittsburgh (16) [Eleventh Hour]; Hite, Tampa (8) [Coppertail]; Gallerie, Kansas City (6) [Boulevard]; LIFT, Oklahoma City (6) [Elk Valley]; and Highland Row, Memphis (5) [WISEAcre]. HausRewards has partnered with taprooms in several of these markets to offer discounts to our residents and employees. We should continue to cultivate these proximities and look for other ways, like the Home Brew Studio, to enhance the resident beer experience because this beer-love trend of the next generation doesn't appear to be waning any time soon. Calling back to my mention of coffee shops in the first paragraph, many coffee/beer shops are cropping up all over (coffee during the day, beer in the evening) to not only serve as that third place, but also that second place (an office for gig-economy or remote workers) [See Draft Mag article]. Also, there are shops that combine these brews with other experiences like record collecting and ping pong, e.g., Square Cat Vinyl or Smash in Indy. Perhaps, we could find a coffee/beer shop partner or create our own model that fits in our retail spaces nationwide.