Atlanta’s Monday Night Brewing has announced plans to build out a second brewery in the city (along with an urban orchard), focusing exclusively on barrel-aged and sour beers. The facility is expected to enable the company to quadruple its volume of barrel-aged and sour offerings, which account for less than 10% of its total production now. The company hopes to be up and running in its new digs by next summer.
WHY IT MATTERS
With this project, Monday Night is investing not only in its own business, but the city of Atlanta, and, indeed, the state of Georgia itself. In fact, due to some of the state’s more onerous beer laws (namely, Georgia’s unfortunate distinction—once Mississippi passes legislation next year—as the only state in the country that outright prohibits breweries from selling directly to customers) Monday Night had been entertaining the idea of building the new brewery in a different state entirely. Company co-founder and marketing manager Jonathan Baker says Alabama and Tennessee had shown interest in luring the company away from the Peach State. It was a sense of optimism for the future that kept the company home.
“I think what kind of helped tip the scales for us [is that] it’s going to take a year for us to build this thing, and we’re confident we’re getting close to legislation that will allow us to actually sell beer at the brewery,” Baker told GBH. “You know, maybe that’s not this year, but in the next two years, that should be in place.”
That belief is integral to Monday Night’s blueprints for the new brewery, as Baker said direct sales are “kind of the end game” regarding the planned tasting room.
Georgia beer makers have for years been pushing for this legislative change, launching crowd-funding efforts and introducing bills, only to be met by opposition from wholesalers and lawmakers at every turn. The laws have not only harmed the state’s own breweries, but have prevented at least one out of state company, Florida’s Cigar City, from even thinking about building out there.
“We’ve kind of purposefully skipped over Alabama and Georgia,” Cigar City founder Joey Redner said early on in his own company’s search for a location in which to build out a second home. “While there’s a lot of great things going on in those states, they really don’t have the friendliest legislation.”
From a production standpoint, the new facility will allow for the company to begin experimenting with barrel-aged sour offerings, something it has avoided to date so as to stave off the possibility of contaminating other beers in its portfolio. In that regard, Monday Night joins a seemingly growing list of breweries—including Wicked Weed and The Bruery—that are opening separate facilities in which to house their sour and barrel-aged beers as an assurance against infection.
“That was actually a huge factor and the reason why being a little further away from our current building is so appealing,” Baker said, adding every brewer will be required to shower before traveling from the new facility to the old.
At 22,000 square feet, the new brewery, intended to be situated along the BeltLine’s Southwest corridor, will prominently feature multiple barrel aging and souring rooms, wild and open fermentation capabilities, a tasting room and patio, as well as an orchard, from which fruit will be utilized in both production and to aid with wild fermentation.
As for the old facility, Baker said not much will change and that it would maintain responsibility for producing most of the company’s core portfolio. This year, the company anticipates selling 12,500 barrels of beer produced there. But more than separate brewing entities, Baker sees each facility as representative of the city the company chooses to call home.
“They’re about five miles apart as the crow flies, but in very different parts of the city in terms of development,” he said. “I think each one can fulfill a pretty unique need in the neighborhood that each resides in.”
We’re Building Another Brewery. Inside City Limits [Monday Night Brewing]