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Memphis Made beers make Memphis debut

October 14, 2013 By: mike Category: Breweries, Craft beer, Distribution, Events, Memphis

Memphis Made debut

Memphis Made Brewing Company launched distribution in Memphis over the weekend, making it the third craft brewery to open for business in the Bluff City in the past year.

Founders Drew Barton and Andy Ashby tapped kegs of their brews at bars and restaurants Friday and Saturday. Those locations — Flying Saucer in Cordova and Downtown, Young Avenue Deli, Aldo’s Pizza Pies, Bardog Tavern and the Slider Inn — are the only places to buy Memphis Made on draft for now. Memphis Made is self-distributing and will slowly expand to other places in the coming weeks and months.

“There were a few hiccups, but overall it went well. People really seemed genuinely excited about trying new local beer,” Ashby said.

“It was great tapping kegs at the Flying Saucer where Drew and I met and where we learned a lot about beer. It was also fun being part of the Slider Inn’s Oktoberfest. The best part, however, was just getting a chance to chat with people about our passion: fresh, local beer.”

Memphis Made’s two inaugural brews are actually one-offs or special beers — offerings that won’t be in the production brewery’s year-round line-up.

South Cooper Saison is a brown saison that head brewer Barton fermented at 85 degrees with Belgian Saison yeast. It’s a complex beer with a hefty amount of spice and hints of banana.The Parkways Pale Ale, a malt-forward pale, was brewed with Nugget and Delta hops. Its name pays homage to Memphis’ parkway system and the streets that formed one of the city’s earliest boundaries.

“There was a great turn-out this weekend at both area Flying Saucer locations to receive a first taste of Memphis Made brew,” said Kirk Caliendo, Flying Saucer district manager.

“Both the saison and pale seemed to be even in popularity. I think the brown saison is my favorite of the two.”

This week, Barton said he is brewing a red ale with Munich malt, roasted malt, flaked oats, flaked barley and English hops.  After that, there will be a porter and a Belgian Wit on tap before Memphis Made unveils its IPA, the first of the brewery’s year-round beers. A Kolsch — Memphis Made’s other planned year-round beer — will follow later.

Cooper-Young Regional BeerfestMemphis Made is located at 768 S. Cooper, just south of Central, in the Cooper-Young neighborhood.

Barton and Ashby are among the organizers of the Cooper-Young Regional Beerfest, which is coming up this Saturday (Oct. 19) at Midtown Autowerks, 795 S. Cooper. The Midtown beer festival, which is in its 4th year, features craft beers from breweries within a day’s drive of Memphis.

This time, Barton and Ashby get to serve their own beer at their neighborhood festival.

“It’ll be strange, but in a good way,” Ashby said. “Drew and I helped start the festival with several friends years ago, so it will be fun to be on the other side of it.”

Memphis Made beers to debut this weekend

October 08, 2013 By: mike Category: Breweries, Craft beer, Distribution, Events, Memphis

Memphis MadeMemphis Made Brewing Company will launch its distribution in the Memphis area this weekend, with kegs of Memphis Made beer to be tapped Friday at both Flying Saucer locations.

Co-founders Drew Barton and Andy Ashby will tap the first kegs — South Cooper Saison and Parkways Pale Ale — at the Cordova Flying Saucer at 5:30 p.m. and then head to the Downtown Flying Saucer at 8 p.m.

On Saturday, Memphis Made beers will be available at Young Avenue Deli, Aldo’s Pizza Pies, Bardog Tavern and the Slider Inn.

“Since we self-distribute, we’re only opening in a handful of bars and restaurants initially,” Ashby said in a press release. “We plan to ramp up production slowly, always focusing on quality, and expand to more local bars and restaurants in the coming weeks and months.”

Memphis Made is located at 768 S. Cooper, just south of Central, in the Cooper-Young neighborhood. It’s the latest production craft brewery to open in Memphis, joining Ghost River Brewing, High Cotton Brewing and Wiseacre Brewing.

•••

Here’s the full press release from Memphis Made about the brewery’s launch:

Memphis’ newest local brewery will play the field a bit before settling into its regular year-round offerings.

Memphis Made Brewing Company is brewing up several different beers for its official debut this weekend.

The first two beers will be South Cooper Saison and Parkways Pale Ale. This will be followed by other inaugural brews, including a red ale and a porter.

“We just couldn’t wait a full year to make anniversary beers,” Drew Barton, founder and head brewer, said. “These beers could be one-time only or we could revisit them later.”

Memphis Made will debut the beers at the two Memphis-area Flying Saucer restaurants Friday, Oct. 11.

Barton and co-founder Andy Ashby will be tapping the first kegs at the Cordova Flying Saucer at 5:30 p.m. and then head to the Downtown Flying Saucer at 8 p.m.

“Both the Ashbys and Bartons are part of the Saucer family,” Kirk Caliendo, Flying Saucer general manager, said. “Knowing their passion for great beer first hand, it’s going to be great to promote their beer from our taps. Andy and Drew are dedicated to consistent product that will taste great. Memphis will be proud to have this brewery attached to its name.”
Barton and Ashby each worked at the Flying Saucer over the years.

“I am rooting for these guys,” Caliendo said. “We have traveled the country in our youth in search of great beer and now they will be brewing it here at home for us to sell and drink at the Saucer.”

South Cooper Saison, a brown saison, is composed of a simple malt bill of pale and chocolate malt, allowing the complex flavors of the yeast to be the shining star, most notably its peppery spice.

Parkways Pale Ale is a distinctive American Pale Ale. Nugget hops deliver an initial herbal punch, while Delta hops round out the flavor and aroma with their spicy and slightly sweet citrus notes.

“The Parkways are one of the original boundaries of Memphis and the name is an acknowledgement of our local roots,” Ashby said. “Drew and I have been planning Memphis Made for quite a while. Now that we’re brewing, we can’t wait to bring more fresh, local beer into the market.”

Barton designed and earned a Zymurgy Management degree at the University of Memphis, making it possibly the only beer degree in the school’s history. He is excited to bring everything he learned at the University of Memphis and in Asheville, N.C. back home to the Bluff City.

After making a few different styles of beer, the Cooper-Young brewery plans on making two styles, an IPA and a Kolsch, year-round. It will continue to make seasonal beers as production capacity allows.

Memphis Made’s local focus extends beyond its beer.

Adam Shellabarger with Combustion Design created the brewery’s logo while Sean Vandergriff with Vandergriff Designs is hand crafting its first tap handles. Memphis Made also used local artist Kevin Reuter for one of its first t-shirt designs. It also gives spent grains to Mathis Creek Farms in Covington, Tenn.

On Saturday, Memphis Made plans to distribute beer to the Young Avenue Deli, Aldo’s Pizza Pies, Bardog Tavern and the Slider Inn.

“Since we self-distribute, we’re only opening in a handful of bars and restaurants initially,” Ashby said. “We plan to ramp up production slowly, always focusing on quality, and expand to more local bars and restaurants in the coming weeks and months.”

Memphis Made will also serve beer at the Cooper-Young Regional Beerfest, held 1-5 p.m., Oct. 19 at Midtown Autowerks, 795 S. Cooper.

“Fix the Beer Tax” supporters rally in Memphis at Young Avenue Deli

February 09, 2013 By: mike Category: Breweries, Craft beer, Distribution, Events, Memphis

High Cotton at Fix the Beer Tax rally

High Cotton Brewing’s Mike Lee hands out samples of Ginners Pride ESB at the Fix the Beer Tax rally on Friday at the Young Avenue Deli.

More than 100 beer enthusiasts and industry representatives gathered Friday night in Memphis to rally for change in Tennessee’s beer taxes.

The “Fix the Beer Tax” campaign, which launched last week in Nashville, took over the Young Avenue Deli in Cooper-Young for a rally in support of the “Beer Reform Act of 2013.”
Fix the Beer Tax
“This bill is about bringing jobs to Tennessee. If we can fix our beer tax, we can have more brewers here, more jobs in those breweries. We can have more choices for consumers and more choices, most importantly, at a lower price,” said Tennessee State Sen. Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown), sponsor of the bill. (Watch video of Kelsey’s speech below.)

The Beer Tax Reform Act of 2013 seeks to reform the 17% beer wholesale tax in Tennessee, which contributes to the state having the highest beer taxes in the nation. (Read FuzzyBrew’s earlier post here.)

In addition to speeches by Kelsey and others, there was great Tennessee beer to try.

For a $5 donation, you could sample beers from Ghost River Brewing, Jackalope Brewing CompanyYazoo Brewing Company, Calfkiller Brewing Company, along with Memphis start-ups Memphis Made Brewing Company and High Cotton Brewing Company.

You can follow the progress of the bill on the Tennessee General Assembly’s website here, or follow the campaign at www.fixthebeertax.com, and at www.facebook.com/fixthebeertax.

State Sen. Brian Kelsey:

Memphis Made’s Drew Barton:

Brewing local: a Q&A with Memphis Made’s Drew Barton

December 26, 2012 By: mike Category: Breweries, Craft beer, Memphis

In 2013, Drew Barton will be bringing more locally brewed craft beer to the Bluff City when he opens the doors to Memphis Made Brewing Company. Barton will serve as president and head brewer at Memphis Made, which is leasing space at 768 S. Cooper, just south of Central. When Memphis Made opens mid-year with a 10-barrel brewing system, it will initially only be a production brewery, but the Cooper-Young area business will ultimately feature brewery tours and a small tasting room. Barton, former head brewer at French Broad Brewing Company, talked to FuzzyBrew about the process of starting a brewery and his plans for Memphis Made.

You’ve been working on starting your own brewery for awhile now. Can you give us some insights into the process and what it took to get you to this point?

I don’t know if there was a singular starting point. It definitely began while brewing at French Broad Brewery in Asheville, NC. Melodie and I loved it out there but it never felt like home to either one of us. We found ourselves coming back to Memphis any chance we got. We felt a strong pull coming from Memphis. Once we got engaged, we decided to pack up and re-root ourselves in Memphis.

We got back to town and started working on a business plan. We worked on the business plan for what seemed like forever. It was a good year-and-a-half process. We met with advisers at SCORE, SBA, and any business person that would listen to us. We constantly worked on the plan, going over different scenarios on paper. This was one of the best pieces of advice we got during the whole process: make as many mistakes as you can on paper, it’s cheaper that way. Then, as soon as we felt like we had a viable plan, we started meeting with potential investors. Every meeting brought more questions and helped improve the plan.

Then one day we saw a “for lease” sign on the Cooper building we will eventually move into. We toured the building and really liked it. We then met with the owner and talked about necessary renovations to get a brewery in the building. We got fairly grandiose with our plans and our budget was feeling some pain. So, we stepped back and kept looking around town at other spaces in hopes of finding a more budget-friendly space. During our search, we developed more budget slimming plans and returned to the Cooper building with a plan to fit our budget.

So, here we are with financing, equipment on order, and getting ready to begin construction.

Memphis Made

A view inside the future home of Memphis Made Brewing Company

How did you pick your space at 768 S. Cooper, and how do you see the brewery fitting into the Cooper-Young scene?

Since I live in Cooper-Young, the first goal was to find something in the neighborhood. We couldn’t find anything at first due to distance rules regarding alcohol related businesses. Then that “for lease” sign popped up. 768 Cooper met the existing distance requirements and is zoned correctly for a brewery. So after working out budget and design issues, it was a no-brainer. Since then, some changes to the city ordinances have opened up more possible locations, but with the building sitting directly on Cooper it won out as our best possible location.

When we open the doors there won’t actually be doors to open to the public just yet. So, at first there won’t be much fitting in to the Cooper-Young scene. But as production ramps up and the next phase of build-out is complete, the tasting room will open. I think the tasting room will be a natural fit for the neighborhood. The tasting room will have very limited hours, basically enough time to stop in for a beer after work and head on home for dinner or out somewhere else in the neighborhood. There will be growlers available to take home. Hopefully, we’ll get a lot of neighbors walking up to get a growler.

What are the first beers Memphis Made will brew, and how did you decide on the styles to start with?

The first beers to come out will be one-time inaugural beers, and I’m keeping those under wraps for now. Beyond that, a Kolsch and an I.P.A. will be our regular offerings. Kolsch has been one of my favorite styles for years now. While brewing at French Broad, it was the first professional recipe I developed. It’s such an easy-drinking beer and I think it will fit in well with the climate of Memphis. An I.P.A., or Pale Ale, is just a given. The decision to go with the I.P.A. was based on the principle of “go big or go home.” If it’s gonna be a hoppy beer, it’s gonna be full of hops. But it’s not going to be a race to run up the IBUs. The I.P.A. will be flavor and aroma forward with a moderate bitterness to balance it out.

How did you decide on Memphis Made for the name of your brewery?

Memphis Made Brewing CompanyThere was a laundry list of names considered. We wanted it to be something definitively Memphis without being hokey like Blue Suede Brewery. So while trying on different names, the idea of using Memphis Made as a branding tool was introduced. Originally it was envisioned as an image to be used on packaging, like a stamp of approval. Then it hit me, Memphis Made isn’t a branding tool, it’s a brand. It’s unapologetically Memphis and that’s how we feel about this city. We love this city and we’re not afraid to say “I am Memphis Made.” Memphis made us who we are, and we can return the favor and make Memphis a better place.

Just how much demand do you think there is in Memphis for more craft beer, and more specifically, locally-brewed craft beer?

Let’s look at the latter first. I believe there is a lot of room for growth in locally-brewed craft beer in Memphis. The success of Boscos and Ghost River is all you really need to see that.

When we and other breweries open in Memphis, it should help bring better awareness to craft beer in the area. People learn a lot about beer when they tour breweries or meet local brewers, so I think having more people brewing locally will help drive demand. Meeting and talking with people about beer is part of our mission. We want to educate them about fresh beer made in their neighborhood.

In general, more craft beer in the Memphis market is somewhat dependent on state-level decisions. Currently, Tennessee has some of the highest excise taxes on beer. This has actively driven breweries out of the state and at times kept them from even entering the market. The newly formed Tennessee Craft Brewers Guild is currently addressing this issue and hopefully can help level the playing field. Once that happens, I think the craft beer market in Tennessee will open up. So, everyone reading this, go check out http://www.tncraftbrewers.org/ and support their efforts.