What matters to us is community.
It’s one of the six pillars that our company was built on. To us, Athens means something. It’s why we took great pride in renovating and reusing the Snow Tire Company building, an iconic space in downtown Athens. It’s why we love working with and supporting local non-profit organizations who strive each day to make Athens a better place.
And that’s why when it came time to expand our operations, there was no place to look other than this town that we call home. To that end, we have come to an agreement with the Mayor and Commission to build a new brewery and tasting room in the Southern Mill building off North Chase Street.
The renovation of this historic, beautiful space will enable us to triple our production and let us keep up with the rise in demand for our beer. At minimum, we plan to invest $8 million into building a 36,000-square-foot brewery and 4,000 square feet of office space. This will allow us to create 25 new jobs in the Athens community over the next 5 years, as well as revitalize a property that is being underused.
The brewery will be centered around an 85 barrel 4-vessel Steinecker brewhouse, and will include enough fermentation capacity to brew 50,000 barrels in our new brewery on day 1. We are building in plenty of room to grow as well with significantly more cellar space and room for an additional 85-bbl 4-vessel brewhouse. We will be investing a quarter of a million dollars into our laboratory, installing a 240 can-per-minute 24-head Krones canning line, a reverse osmosis skid, advanced milling system, and many other advanced pieces of equipment to ensure that we can continue to make the highest quality beer for our customers.
Southern Mill is a former cotton mill that originally opened in 1900, but has not been operational since the 1990s. While our brewery will reuse a portion of the space, another section is being developed a residential and commercial property separate from ours. We’re excited to be a part of this innovative reuse of a great property in a booming part of the Athens community.
The existing Creature Comforts brewery and tasting room on West Hancock Avenue, which we opened nearly three years ago, will remain open. It’s a space we love, and maintaining it lets us remain a part of the vibrant downtown Athens scene.
So, what’s next? Our agreement, which also includes a grant from the Athens-Clarke County to assist with the purchase of new equipment, was approved to move forward by the Mayor and Commission. We look forward to transforming another historic property and creating something the Athens community will be proud of.