The Story of Lennie & Jeff: How a Young Couple Fell Out of Love And Built a Food and Beer Mini-Empire

BY CARMEN SIERING When Jeff Mease and Lennie Busch fell in love while students at Indiana University in the 1980s, they couldn’t have imagined that decades later they would be partners in one of the most successful businesses in Bloomington. As co-owners of One World Enterprises, Jeff and Lennie reign over Pizza X, Lennie’s Restaurant and Brewpub, Bloomington Brewing Company, One World Catering & Events, and the newly opened One World KitchenShare. They also own a 69-acre farm west of Bloomington where they are raising water buffaloes and heritage-breed pigs and growing organic hops. Their story might not be nearly as interesting if these college sweethearts had gone on to marry and live happily ever after. As it happened, in […]

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Craft Beer Scene Is Booming in Bloomington

BY GREG KITZMILLER When you feel like having a beer, grab a cold pint or bottle of a local brew. Every time you do, you are helping someone who lives here, works here, and raises kids here. Down a Bud or Bud Light and you are (surprisingly) supporting a Belgian company. Nationally, those mainstream beer brands are declining in sales while the popularity of craft brews is booming. Generally, craft beers are more flavorful than those big brands because most artisan brewers pour their heart and soul into creating brews that will stand out and attract attention. The craft beer scene has exploded here in Bloomington, and with that has come a beer community within our larger community. All the […]

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A Farm Where the Water Buffalo Roam

BY NANCY HILLER Meet Buffy, Ginger, Nilla, Sassy, Blanca, and Bella. Judging by their names, the girls in this list might be characters in a reality television show. But these particular flaxen-tressed lovelies have cloven hooves, and they like nothing better than to submerse themselves shoulder-high in a muddy pond. They are water buffalo—six of the nineteen at Loesch Farm, the latest venture of longtime business partners Jeff Mease and Lennie Busch. Acquiring a herd of water buffalo with a plan to manufacture mozzarella cheese is not your everyday business move in the uplands of south-central Indiana. But Mease and Busch see the animals as an adventurous outgrowth of their more conventional undertakings—Lennie’s Restaurant, Pizza X, Bloomington Brewing Company, and […]

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“Don’t Mess with Lennie’s Menu!” Its Longtime Customers Warn

BY CHRISTINE BARBOUR It was boredom with the pizza delivery business that got Mease and his then-wife, now partner, Lennie Busch interested in opening the sit-down restaurant we know as Lennie’s in 1989. It was boredom that got him interested in the home-brewing business that led to the Bloomington Brewing Company in 1994. And it was boredom that spurred the recent purchase of a farm out on Loesch Road that will become home to a bigger brewery, and perhaps to imported water buffalo from Italy, prized for the mozzarella made from their milk, or to pampered pigs who will be turned into cured sausages. “We try not to get him bored very often,” laughs Busch, “because then you’ve got a […]

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