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The buzz about Generation NA
Is Lafayette ready for an NA brew-only shop? Plus, Kristine Barnett, the mom accused of abandoning adopted daughter in Lafayette, escapes sanctions for going ‘right up to the line’ on gag order
Today’s edition is sponsored by The Long Center for the Performing Arts, which is bringing America to Lafayette for the first concert in the new Loeb Stadium. For details, scroll through today’s Based in Lafayette reporting project.
Friday is opening day for Generation NA, touted as Greater Lafayette’s – not to mention, Indiana’s – first shop dedicated to non-alcoholic brews.
Robert Theodorow converted a loft among the rafters in the third floor offices of SFP, a web design and development firm in downtown Lafayette, with a bar to pour samples and shelves for a growing array of non-alcoholic brews, wines and spirits.
It’s a pop-up space for now, open Fridays and by appointment to start. Theodorow, who has been a brand ambassador for St. Louis-based NA brewer WellBeing Brewing for the past year, said eventually he’d like to move into a more permanent brick-and-mortar location in West Lafayette.
Across the country, NA brews consume less than 1% of the market, with only a handful of shops testing the concept – none of those in Indiana. But based on industry research – the Brewers Association figures recently cited by NPR show that sales of NA options grew from 0.31% of the beer market in 2018 to 0.51% in 2021 – Theodorow says he’s ready to offer something he wants to see in Greater Lafayette for himself.
“Those numbers seem small, but it’s coming,” Theodorow said. “And we’re kind of on the forefront. I’m not sure if Lafayette’s ready for it yet, or if they’ll be ready for it in a couple of years. But I’m trying to get ahead of the curve on it. …
“I want this in the community. I want to educate people that they do have other options, and these options are very good.”
NA brews got a bit of a buzz – yeah, I know, sorry … – during the pandemic, with reports of the rise in beer and alcohol consumption and drinkers starting to more often look for lighter options in those situations, whether for health and wellness concerns or just to keep their wits.
ResearchandMarket.com predicted in January that the global NA beer market would grow from $15.09 billion in 2020 to $16.65 billion in 2021, eventually hitting $23.27 billion by 2025. IWSR, which tracks the alcoholic beverage market, reported in 2021 a growing trend in people willing to have full-strength and no/low drinks on the same occasion. The key, the industry researcher noted, was taste and that beer drinkers were willing to pay for NA varieties as long as they were good.
Theodorow said that’s where he’s positioning his venture with drinks bearing 0.5% or lower alcohol by volume – the federal standard for an NA beer.
The idea of Generation NA is to offer samples, along with mix-and-match six packs that include some of the early standard-bearers from the major breweries to craft selections.
“If you go back a couple of years, there weren’t a lot of great non-alcoholic beers,” he said. “Over the last two, three, four years, I would say it’s exploded, with a lot of breweries putting out really good NA products. … Let’s say you’re new to the space, or just want to try one, you don’t have to invest in a six-pack or a 12-pack. Here, you’re going to be able to try several or get a pick from one of our staff choices.”
Theodorow said he’d dabbled in NA brews when competing in amateur barbecue competitions, where he found himself drinking beer much of the day. (“And I just couldn’t do that,” he said.) He said he tried light beers, but couldn’t justify that, either. NA beer, he said, did the trick.
“This has really helped me out,” he said, “and I know it can help a lot of other people.”
What are his top three recommendations?
“It’s hard to pick just three NA options, but I’d say the ones here have been the biggest game changers in the industry recently,” he said.
1. Guinness 0 Non Alcoholic Draught: “Smells and tastes just like a Guinness. Even has a nice nitro head and comes with the ‘widget.’ The mouthfeel may be a bit light, but 9 out of 10 pub patrons would not notice the difference. A true game changer in the NA space.”
2. Going Places IPA by Wellbeing: “Brewed with a blend of three West Coast hops – a refreshingly crisp, effervescent bitterness balanced by aromatic notes of citrus, mango and pineapple. This may be my new personal favorite Wellbeing product and overall IPA in the NA space.”
3. Totally Rational Citrus Hazy IPA by Rationale Brewing: “If you are only able (or willing) to drink one NA brew, this is a solid candidate. The NA space has seriously evolved lately with breweries like Rationale jumping aboard. The IPA is a crushable hazy, grapefruit-forward brew with a slight bitter citrus bite from fresh hops.”
Honorable mention: Anything by Untitled Art. “All their NA brews are fantastic and very well liked. Seriously, all of them.”
IF YOU GO: Generation NA is on the third floor at 302 Ferry St., above Fountain Trust Bank. Parking is on the north side of the building with an elevator to the third floor. Hours: noon-6 p.m. Fridays. Website: na.beer
KRISTINE BARNETT ‘RIGHT UP TO THE LINE,’ BUT AVOIDS GAG ORDER SANCTIONS
Kristine Barnett didn’t technically violate a 2019 gag order when she posted a string of Facebook comments about an Indiana Supreme Court ruling and motivations behind the prosecution in a neglect case that drew international attention, a Tippecanoe County judge decided Thursday afternoon.
“But she came right up to the line,” Tippecanoe Superior Court 2 Judge Steve Meyer said, during an hourlong hearing Thursday, five months before Barnett is scheduled to go on trial on charges that she and her former husband abandoned their adopted daughter, Natalia Grace, in Lafayette.
“The point of the gag order was to protect your client, as much as Mr. (Michael) Barnett and as much as Natalia,” Meyer told Kristine Barnett’s attorneys, Victoria Casanova and Mark Nicholson. “The intent is trying to keep a fair trial here … as everyone ran off to TV shows – ‘Dr. Phil,’ ‘Dr. Oz’ and anyone who would put a microphone in your faces.”
The upshot: Kristine Barnett wasn’t penalized for contempt. Meyer told her it could be a different story if she kept at it on Facebook.
The Tippecanoe County prosecutor flagged pages of posts from Kristine Barnett in February, a month after the Indiana Supreme Court declined to take up an appeal in the case. The state high court’s decision, a 3-2 ruling in January, essentially got rid of the bulk of charges that Kristine and Michael Barnett abandoned Natalia – an orphan from Ukraine they adopted – in a Lafayette apartment after legally changing her age from child to adult and then heading to Canada with the rest of their children.
Nicholson told Meyer that Kristine Barnett mistakenly assumed the Indiana Supreme Court ruling meant the neglect case was over.
But the Barnetts still face several charges of neglect for not helping Natalia with medical treatment for her dwarfism, no matter whether she was a child or an adult, as the parent contended. (Kristine Barnett is scheduled for a one-week trial starting Oct. 24; Michael Barnett’s trial is scheduled to begin Sept. 12.)
Meyer issued a gag order in the Barnett case in November 2019, keeping the Barnetts and Natalia from talking about the case in ways that vouched for themselves or disparaged the others involved. Meyer’s order also prohibited the parties from publicly elaborating about the case or characterizing any proceedings.
The case involved 37 pages of more than 3,000 the prosecutor’s office pulled from Facebook through a search warrant, but kept confidential in court records. The confidentiality of the material made things dicey Thursday, as Meyer and the attorneys worked through what could be offered as evidence during a public hearing but that should have been kept quiet if the gag order had been followed.
The prosecutor’s complaint, filed in February, mentioned Kristine Barnett’s posts between Jan. 8 and Feb. 7 that talked about her legal team, her inability to “speak for herself” and others connected with the Supreme Court ruling.
While not shown in court, the contents of some of Kristine Barnett’s posts were collected here before they were taken down or hidden on her Facebook page. Among the ones that matched descriptions laid out in court Thursday:
On Jan. 8, two days after the Supreme Court notice, Barnett posted thanks on her Facebook feed to her attorneys “for fighting relentlessly for me and for the truth. … I cannot describe what it is like to not be able to speak for yourself in a situation like this.”
On Feb. 2, Barnett posted a letter from Carrie Harris, an Indiana mother who in February told Based in Lafayette that she subscribed to Barnett’s methods to work with children with autism, as laid out in Barnett’s book, “The Spark: A Mother’s Story of Nurturing, Genius and Autism.” Harris said she wrote an extended note – one Barnett eventually posted on her Facebook page – after looking for reasons why Attorney General Todd Rokita and the two Supreme Court justices who voted to take the case might have been compelled to do so. (Chief Justice Loretta Rush and Justice Mark Massa voted to grant the state’s petition to transfer jurisdiction to the state’s high court.) In her letter, signed as “A Member of The Spark Family,” Harris contended that those involved were part of “malicious intent to discredit and criminalize” Barnett and her approach to autism versus a behavior modification approach of applied behavioral analysis therapy. She claimed that disputes over autism treatments were behind “the reason for the bizarre and unfounded charges brought upon Ms. Barnett.” Harris specifically called out Rokita and Rush, contending they should have recused themselves. Here’s a look at that post, shared by Barnett:
Deputy Prosecutor Jackie Starbuck also referred to posts that accused those involved in the court proceedings of trying to call Barnett “a bad mom because it would ruin my reputation.” In that post, Starbuck said Barnett had written that “truth and integrity will prevail.”
“Advisable? No,” Casanova told Meyer. “Violation of the gag order? I’m not so sure.”
Meyer said he didn’t see an issue with Barnett talking about her legal team.
The others, Meyer said, “bumped up against the line.” First, Meyer said the posts that claimed the Supreme Court ruling exonerated Barnett were inaccurate and “a complete misstatement.” He said comments about Rokita and assorted officers of the court could be considered protected political speech about public officials.
“In the same vein,” Meyer said, “there’s a limit.”
He called Barnett’s posts disrespectful to the court and the system and jeopardized the guidelines laid out to try to get a fair trial. He asked whether he would need to expand the gag order to be even more specific, given the posts Barnett made.
Casanova said she didn’t believe Barnett willfully tried to test the gag order’s boundaries. Casanova told the judge that she’d told Barnett to stay off Facebook.
Meyer told Barnett that Michael Barnett and Natalia didn’t seem to have a problem.
“She’s just going on and on,” Meyer said. “And I think she’s smart enough to know.”
He told Kristine Barnett to cease and desist or she was looking at sanctions next time.
Kristine Barnett did not speak during the hearing.
Here’s how the case got this far …
In October 2021, Rokita filed a request with the Indiana Supreme Court, arguing that the Barnetts manipulated the legal system “to both facilitate the criminal neglect of their child and to cover it up” when they had petitioned to add 14 years to daughter Natalia Grace Barnett’s age. The state’s case: That gave the Barnetts cover to abandon Natalia in Lafayette, with little more than a year’s worth of rent, while the rest of the family moved from their home in Hamilton County to Canada in 2013.
The state’s argument backed one the Tippecanoe County prosecutor had made. Specifically, that Meyer shouldn’t have been bound by a judge’s 2012 ruling in Marion County that allowed the Barnetts to change Natalia’s legal age from 8 to 22. Meyer dismissed the bulk of the charges, first filed in 2019 against the Barnetts, in 2020, saying he didn’t have authority to overrule the other judge’s order. Meyer ruled the state couldn’t proceed with neglect charges based on Natalia’s age, since she was legally declared an adult. The Indiana Court of Appeals sided with Meyer’s ruling in August 2021.
The state argued that the Marion County judge’s ruling had been made practically in secret, giving Natalia and the state little opportunity to contest it.
For more history – from initial charges, court rulings, the attorney general’s filing and various interviews and TV appearances from the duration of the case – here’s some background:
The Barnetts claimed that they’d been duped and that Natalia wasn’t a child dealing with dwarfism from Ukraine when they adopted her in 2010, but an adult who admitted as much to therapists, doctors and a Department of Child Services case manager. (The link above gets deeper into how the Barnetts adopted Natalia and their claims that she became a danger to the couple and their family, including a claim that Natalia tried to kill Kristine Barnett twice.)
For more about their defense as the state asked the Indiana Supreme Court to take the case, here’s more from Michael and Kristine Barnett’s filings:
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