South Bend Brew Werks

Location: 216 S Michigan St, South Bend, IN, 46601

History/Mission: South Bend Brew Werks is a hidden gem in the heart of Downtown South Bend. Owner Michele Lowe described the brewpub as “small but mighty,” an accurate description given one look at their tiny kitchen and extensive menu. The building, formerly a prominent theatre in South Bend, has been converted into a beautiful restaurant and bar with the brewery nestled in the basement below. The furniture in the restaurant is largely reclaimed from various places around South Bend, giving the restaurant a unique, industrial vibe. But at the heart of this restaurant lies something much more than good food and atmosphere: the mission of this place is to support the whole South Bend community. Michele and her husband Steve took over the establishment in October of 2017 and hope to continue to expand that mission. It starts in the kitchen: their menu features delicious, homemade food crafted with as many high-quality, local, and/or organic ingredients as possible. Everything is made from scratch, including grilled cheeses, baked pastas, flatbreads, and more. With a focus on helping other South Bend businesses, the restaurant sources as many of its ingredients, including cheese, eggs, meat, and produce, when it’s available, from local producers. The kitchen has a large focus on reducing food waste, as well. When asked about the menu, Michele explains that they’re not as concerned with profit margins as they are with feeding their community high-quality, nutritious, homemade food. Their beer is brewed entirely on-site, with rotating taps and new brews every month. Perhaps the most unique facet of this place is its commitment to giving back to their community through their “Beer4Good” program, which has the motto: “building a stronger community, one brew at a time.” When a customer purchases a beer or other drink, they receive a bottle cap worth 10₵, 25₵, or 50₵. On their way out, they place these bottle caps into any of the three jars inside the brewpub dedicated to “community partners” in South Bend: The Music Village, La Casa de Amistad, or the Neighborhood Resources Connection. At the end of every month, South Bend Brew Werks writes a check to each of these organizations corresponding to the amount in their jar. They also have a fourth partner once a month that gets a specific beer brewed for them. All proceeds from that beer are then given to that fourth partner. All those cents add up: last year, the restaurant donated more than $22,000 to their community partners. Michele describes this program as “guilt-free beer,” something I think we can all get behind!

Get Involved: When asked how undergraduates can get involved in the local food movement, the staff at Brew Werks emphasized staying informed and doing research about where your food comes from. They also encouraged everyone to be aware of the food waste generated by their food choices and seek ways to reduce that waste. Additionally, they emphasize that students who visit locally owned establishments are investing in the South Bend community. The best way to get involved in SBBW? Show up! Check out their lunch deal or sample their brews, all their food and drinks are crafted with you in mind!

Contact: | phone: (574) 334-0356 | email: