One man’s passion for beer and the brewing process led him and his wife to open their own brewery in downtown Sugar Hill. Indio Brewing Company located at the E Center in Sugar Hill is the brainchild of Jonathan and Betsy Martinez.

To say Jonathan loves beer would be an understatement. He is obsessed with it, even to the point of turning his home into his first brewery. Researching and coming up with the perfect beer became his focus as he knew he wanted this to be his profession. As he gained knowledge and experience in the brewing process and his confidence grew in his brewing abilities, he decided he wanted to open his own brewery. 

“I went to a home brew shop and I got my first kit. It’s history after that,” Jonathan said. “I never looked at it (brewing) as a hobby. I wanted to do this.”

Betsy and Jonathan Martinez, owners of Indio Brewing Co. based in Sugar Hill, pose for a photo inside their brewery. Also pictured is Arjan Martinez, age 4. Photo by Alicia Couch Payne

With Betsy’s support, the two set out to look for the perfect location to set up their brewery. They knew they wanted to stay in Gwinnett County, the county they grew up in, but were unsure at first as to what part of the county they wished to set up shop. They toyed with the idea of Norcross until one day they were riding through Sugar Hill and saw the newly constructed E Center.

“We stopped by the E Center and looked around. It was really nice and we were really happy with it,” Betsy said. “Everyone that we saw were really friendly too. We were like, ‘Wow! That felt really nice.’” 

The location made a significant impression on them, so the pair contacted the city of Sugar Hill. Jonathan and Betsy decided on the precise location within the E Center to open their new brewery and on July 20, 2019, Indio Brewing Company was official as they opened their doors for the first time. 

Indio Brewing Company’s selection of beers available on tap change from season to season as Jonathan believes in using what is available seasonally to create his beers. In the summer, some of the beers will be given their flavors using real fresh fruit, to the tune of 180 pounds of fresh fruit per batch of beer. Some of their winter beers tend to have a heavier, more smoky and nutty flavor.

Each beer starts with hours and hours of research and from there, Jonathan comes up with a recipe to produce the beer. He then works hard to source the best possible ingredients to make the brew. Once he has that, he starts the actual brewing process.

“The brewing process takes about 10 hours for me. Well, because I am doing it by myself,” Jonathan said.

The first step is the mashing process, where you mix the grains with hot water to form the wort. Then you start the boil process and add the flavors in like hops. After boiling for an hour, the mixture gets chilled down by water circulated in between layers of the fermentation tank. Then, the fermentation process is where the yeast converts glucose or sugars in the wort to ethyl alcohol and carbon dioxide. That gives the beer its alcohol content. This process can take about 10 to 14 days to finish. Once the beer has completed the fermentation process, the final flavors are added. Their beer called 1-2-3 Kid Gose got close to a total of 180 pounds of passion fruit, orange, guava and pineapple added to flavor the batch. After the flavor is imparted to the batch, it is strained and filtered before making its way to the taps.

The beer is exceptional and the staff members at Indio are very friendly and knowledgeable about their offerings. Their tap room manager, Kaity Murdock, was once a customer of Indio’s and Jonathan and Betsy offered her a job. She took the job and said it has been the best decision of her life as she absolutely loves interacting with the customers and sharing her passion for the beers Indio serves.

Indio Brewing Company currently offers five beers on tap and even a beer slushy. Customers can sit at the bar, at tables in the tap room watching the big screen TVs or they can hang out on the outdoor patio. Indio is open from 5 to 11 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, 3 to 11 p.m. Fridays, noon to 11 p.m. Saturdays and noon until 8 p.m. Sundays. 

Getting to know their customers and the community is important to the staff at Indio as they hold regular events to get the public engaged. Indio offers live music and dart competitions on Sundays, a cornhole league on Wednesday nights, a game night on Thursdays playing “Cards Against Humanity” and bingo on Fridays.

Help Indio Brewing Company celebrate their second anniversary beginning at noon on July 24. The brewery will have live music, amazing beer and special merchandise available to commemorate the occasion. Indio Brewing Company is at 5019 W. Broad St., Suite M145, in Sugar Hill inside the E Center.

To check out the beers they currently offer on tap or to view upcoming events, visit Indio Brewing Company at  

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