Franklin family opens brewery, BBQ spot

Shelby Mullis

The new brewery in town is more than just a fresh local business for sophomore Kelsey Baker and her family.

Not only does Shale Creek Brewing fulfill her father’s dream of owning a brewery to sell his own beer, but it preserves the Paris-Baker legacy of Franklin businesses.

From Paris Tire & Auto Services to CJ’s Consignments, the Paris family is the face behind more than four Franklin businesses, restaurants and neighborhoods.

“My grandpa, Bill Paris, was an entrepreneur and was big into building things,” Kelsey Baker said. “For my aunts, uncles and parents, growing up around his influence struck the idea for them to become entrepreneurs.”

It was Kelsey’s mother Jenni Baker, a 1990 graduate of Franklin College, who had an idea of what went into opening a business.

Jenni Baker and her four siblings spent hours upon hours with their father in his auto shop, and when she learned of her husband Mike Baker’s interest in opening a business, she was right by his side.

Mike and Jenni Baker opened Shale Creek Brewing in early February.

Mike Baker, a former construction estimator, started brewing in 1999 with beer and wine box kits. He and his wife never imagined it would reach this point.

“My dad has been brewing on his own for years,” Kelsey Baker said. “It was his release of tension, something he enjoyed, like a hobby. As his love for that grew, he started trying out different things, and he upgraded his system.”

After Mike Baker started receiving compliments from family and friends on his crafted beer, he considered making a living out of his hobby.

After two years of paperwork, remodeling efforts and legal factors, Shale Creek Brewing is open for business.

The business held a soft opening Feb. 5, and a grand opening date is in the works.

Before the five-barrel brewing system is installed, Shale Creek Brewing is offering a selection of draft and bottled beer, bourbon and other spirits and a select Triple Play BBQ menu.

The food menu includes pulled pork sliders topped with Carolina slaw, a “dirty bird” sandwich with smoked turkey topped with avocado-poblano sauce and “triple play” nachos with house-fried tortilla chips and a choice of pulled meat.

Junior Elijah Kellam, who works at the brewery, said the best feature of the small town brewery is the “great atmosphere and clientele.”

Jenni Baker said she hopes that the location would not only add to downtown Franklin but also help their business by being front and center on the homestretch of Jefferson Street.

“Our hope is that it will continue to grow and build,” Jenni Baker said. “We want to be able to expand on the brewing side and hopefully be able to keg and distribute to area restaurants or bars that want to serve our beer.”

The ultimate goal of both Jenni and Mike Baker is to impact their children in a way that Jenni Baker’s father did her and her siblings.

“It’s really the mindset of determination and that we can do whatever we put our minds toward doing,” Jenni Baker said. “He was an inspiration. Now we are very open and honest with our children. The expectation is you work hard and sometimes you fall on your face and sometimes you have to try things over and over again.”

Kelsey Baker said she is already taking her parents’ experience to heart.

When she started school at Franklin College, she wanted to be an elementary school teacher. Now, she is studying music and psychology in hopes of pursuing a career in music therapy, one day creating her own local practice.

“My father’s experience shows me that anything is possible,” Kelsey Baker said. “It’s truly taught me to chase my dreams, and I thank my dad for that one.”

Shale Creek Brewing is a 5-minute drive from campus, located at 178 W. Jefferson St. in downtown Franklin.

The brewery is open Tuesday through Thursday from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., Friday from 3 p.m. to midnight, Saturday from 11 a.m. to midnight and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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About Ashley Shuler 1253 Articles
Ashley Shuler is the executive editor of The Franklin. She has held various multimedia journalism and public relations internships, including positions at Indianapolis Monthly, The Children's Museum of Indianapolis and Dittoe Public Relations. When she isn't staying up late to edit stories, Ashley spends her time boutique shopping and drinking as much vanilla Coke as possible. This is Ashley's third year in a leadership role and her fourth year on The Franklin staff. She previously held positions as web editor and news editor.

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