Born in Painesville, Ohio and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Jon Lang found his way to Indiana when his wife’s job moved her here. At the time, he was working in hydraulics having an Associate’s Degree from Hennepin Technical College. Like many brewers his first brewing was at home.
Soon after arriving in the Indianapolis area, he started washing kegs and cleaning at Barley Island Brewing Company in Noblesville. This gave Lang the opportunity to stay home and watch his children during the day and work at the brewery at night.
Jon was at Barley Island for nearly nine years and during his tenure he took on all of the brewing responsibilities and won three Great American Beer Festival medals.
Eventually Lang decided it was time to strike out on his own and he and his business partner put together some investors to open Triton Brewing Company.
Triton Brewing Company acquired their 20-barrel brewing system in 2010 at a bank auction of the equipment from the old War Bird Brewing Company of Fort Wayne. Lang travelled to Fort Wayne and disassembled the system over the course of two weeks and he reassembled it about a year later. When Triton Brewing opened they had four 20 barrel fermenters and a 40 barrel fermenter. Since then they have added an additional 40 barrel fermenter and four 60 barrel fermenters, an increase in fermentation capacity to an impressive 400 barrels.
One of Lang’s favorite parts of the brewing process is, “Developing new things.” He enjoys everything from creating new recipes; to working with the barrel aging program (the wood can be vary from one barrel to the next); and even, to reengineering and improving his equipment.
Lang’s favorite brew of all time, is currently the Barn Phantom the Gose series they are brewing. The original batch turned out very well, winning Gold in the Sour Ale Category at the Indiana State Fair Brewers Cup in 2016. This year they added blueberry to the award winning Gose, which also won a gold medal at the Indiana State Fair Brewers Cup (this time in the Fruit Beer Category). They have also released a mango version of the same beer. There will be more fruited varieties to come. The Railsplitter IPA is Lang’s bestseller in both the tap rooms and in distribution.
Lang enjoys a variety of beer styles. His taste in beer is all over the board. As he says, “some days you’re having steak and you want an IPA, and other days you’re having steak and you want a pepper beer.”
When he is not brewing, Lang spends a good deal of his time running the business. He also finds some time to work on cars and do some woodworking. He enjoys doing custom cabinetry and also has a CNC (computer numeric control) machine that he can program to route some pretty amazing images into wood. There are several examples around the tap room and brewery of his work.
As far as, getting into the commercial brewing business today, Lang suggests that the market is becoming more crowded. He recalls that in the year 2000, when he started there were 36 breweries open in Indiana. Today the state has 140 breweries with another 40 brewery permits in escrow. As a production brewer, you must consider the amount of available shelf space and tap lines. He believes that corner brew pubs will continue to thrive, though he emphasizes the importance of having a strong business and accounting focus, in addition to having solid brewing experience.
Right now, Jon Lang’s Triton Brewing Company brews are for sale in bottles, cans, and available on tap all over the state. He believes that bottles are still “King” in Indiana but cans are gaining momentum. With more than 3,500 barrels of brew that he is producing annually, you should not have any trouble finding his beer just about anywhere you go.