The Hoosierist: Avriel Shull, Home Brewing, And Home Delivery

Q: Did Avriel Shull build any houses outside of Central Indiana? 

A: Homes by Avriel Shull, a largely self-taught designer of mid-century architecture, are a common sight here—especially in Carmel’s Thornhurst subdivision, where you’ll find 21 of them. Though Avriel (she often used just her first name) is as closely identified with Carmel as roundabouts, her biographer, Connie Zeigler, says her work went much farther afield. “I’ve verified about a hundred of the buildings she designed, but there are more,” Zeigler says. “I’ve been contacted by owners as far away as Canada.” Avriel was a businesswoman, which meant that if clients wanted her to build, say, a library in West Virginia or a restaurant in San Bernardino (which they did), she happily complied. Which is why you can find examples of her work not just in Evansville, South Bend, and Brownsburg, but also in Canada and on both coasts.

Q: I know it’s legal to make home-brew beer in Indiana, but what about distilling hard spirits?

A: Oddly enough, it’s perfectly legal in Indiana to buy a still, but illegal to actually use it for alcohol production. Violators likely won’t find themselves pursued through the woods by federal agents and a pack of bloodhounds, though, as still happens in Kentucky. Here, the official response to home distillers is a bit less draconian, so long as they keep their activities on the down low. “I’ve heard of people who bought stills and then got notices from the FBI, as if they’re on a watch list,” says Brandon Meyer, purchasing manager for Great Fermentations, a local home-brewing supply house. “But that’s usually all that happens.” That is, unless the maker of said spirits attempts to market them. That’s when the tracking dogs come out. “If you tried to sell it, you’d probably get in a lot of trouble,” Meyer says. “Once you sell it, there’s tax revenue to be made.”

Q: Does The Indianapolis Star still employ kids to deliver the paper?

The Star didn’t want to talk to The Hoosierist about its present-day delivery service. But according to the Columbia Journalism Review, the image of the traditional paperboy—out at the crack of dawn on his trusty Schwinn—is as anachronistic as the milkman. These days, routes are typically handled by adult carriers who trundle around in the pre-dawn hours tossing newspapers from their cars. Today’s carriers usually deliver the product as a second job. Many work as independent contractors who receive roughly $10 to $14 an hour, with zero benefits. A gig like that would keep a ’70s-era kid knee-deep in comic books and baseball cards, but it’s a drop in the bucket for bill-paying grownups.