Nashville Brewery Grows Out the Yazoo

Michael Kiser

THE GIST
Nashville’s Yazoo Brewing is moving into its third home, having outgrown another facility it initially pegged as its lasting headquarters. Speaking with Nashville Scene, founder and brewmaster Linus Hall says the new space, in a yet to be identified location, will finally provide the necessary room to grow in perpetuity and serve as a “permanent fit for our operations and aspirations.” The company’s current facility in the burgeoning Gulch neighborhood, which it has operated out of since 2010, is now on the market.

WHY IT MATTERS
Since being founded in 2003, Yazoo, like many craft breweries that came of age in the mid-aughts, has enjoyed tremendous growth. If there’s an unfortunate side effect of this tremendous growth, however, it’s that the company didn’t seem to anticipate or project that it could ever become what it ultimately has. As Hall tells Nashville Scene, “We never expected we’d outgrow our first home in Marathon, and we did. And we never expected to outgrow this Gulch location, and we have. Now it is time for a location we can call home for good.”
 
But growing too tall for its own doorways isn’t the only reason the company is moving out and up again. Reached by GBH, Hall says the rapid evolution of the Gulch neighborhood – an evolution to which the company has no doubt contributed – is playing a role as well.
 
“We are located in a booming part of Nashville that is quickly being redeveloped from a warehouse and light industrial area to high-rise residential, office space, and hotels,” he says. Indeed, in 2015, the New York Times described the Gulch as a "60-acre stretch of vacant parcels and light industrial buildings...turned into one of the city's most active neighborhoods." Hall adds, “As nice as it has been to see our property values rising, it’s gotten difficult to operate a production brewery here.”
 
As for the new space itself and where it will be situated, Hall says the company isn’t ready to announce just yet. He did say, however, that the company has “some land outside of downtown under contract.” The move will also have ramifications for its sour program.
 
“As part of that move, we plan to eventually bring our Embrace the Funk program onto a brewery campus of sorts, so that we can offer fans tours of the sour facility too,” Hall says. “Right now the sour facility is about five miles away, and not open to the public except during our annual Funkfest.”
 
The company plans to grow its sour program as well, according to Brandon Jones, who heads Yazoo’s sour brewing operations. And it’s already a sizable one, as the company released about 700 BBLs worth of sour beer in 2016, says Jones. Altogether the company produced 25,000 barrels this past year. Currently, he says the company has about 3,000 oak barrels full of beer “just sitting there, doing its thing,” and a 1,200-gallon foeder is set to arrive next week. And he’s excited about what the move might mean for the company’s funky beer operations.
 
“That’s kind of been our biggest problem with our sour program, is being able to produce enough for the demand that we have,” says Jones. “Most of our releases are allocated before they even leave our facility. It’d be nice to have some more liquid out there.”
 
The company did not provide a timeline for the move, saying only it’s “still really early in the process.”
 
- Dave Eisenberg


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Yazoo is Relocating, Putting Gulch Property On Market [Nashville Scene]