Today we feature a guest post from Mike Christensen. Follow Mike on Twitter @SCSA31274.
There has been a beer renaissance in Georgia over the last couple of years. Thanks to the relaxing of alcohol laws and policies there has been a boom in growler stores, home brewing and smaller craft breweries in Georgia. There have been several craft breweries that have opened recently including Monday Night, Red Hare, Jailhouse, Red Brick and of course Sweetwater. 2013 will mark the opening of Alpharetta’s first brewery, Jekyll Brewing.
Jekyll Brewing is run by founder Mike Lundmark and co-owner/brew master Josh Rachel. Mike, a former pilot, came to Atlanta 10 years ago. He’s had the idea of opening a brewery for several years. The changes with Georgia alcohol policies made this the time right to move ahead with his plans.
Josh grew up in Alpharetta and attended Chattahoochee High School. He got his passion for beer and brewing from his father who is a home brewer and brewing judge. Josh returned to Alpharetta after graduating from West Georgia College with a degree in marketing. With the economy in the toilet, Josh took what was supposed to be a temporary job at Brew Depot, a home brew supply store. He met Mike who would shop there for his home brew supplies. They struck up a friendship through their mutual love of beer, which lead Mike to ask Josh to become Jekyll Brewing’s brew master. Josh has been competitively brewing since 2009, winning several contests with his IPA and German style beers.
A sense of community made Alpharetta the perfect location for Jekyll. Mike and Josh are eager to have the opportunity to improve the community by giving back much like other Atlanta breweries such as Sweetwater. The idea is that beer’s changing from the stigma of just drunks to community involved small companies. Mike and Josh feel that being integral to the local area is just as important as the beer they will make.
And speaking of the beer, the goal is to start brewing late in the spring. Licensing permits have been submitted and they are waiting on the approval to move ahead with the installation of the equipment and to start the first batch. The plan is to start with two styles of beer and then expand to several other types down the road.
The build out is well underway at their location on Marconi Drive off of Windward Parkway near the entrance to the Big Creek Greenway. The brewery will occupy 5,000 square feet with the option of expansion into an additional 50,000 square feet as the need arises.
Jekyll will supply beer through a distributor first to local Alpharetta stores and restaurants, then to Atlanta and eventually the state. The idea is to start as small as possible and grow organically through family, friends and the community.
Mike and Josh have a Kickstarter page in order to raise funds from the community. These funds will pay some of the bills and overhead costs that have been incurred. The idea behind Kickstarter is crowd source funding. In Jekyll’s case, someone can donate any amount. In return, Jekyll is offering prizes or “kickbacks”. The type of prize depends on how much is donated. They range from t-shirts to brewery tours to private parties at the brewery. Visit their page for more info.
If they do not reach their goal by this Saturday they don’t get any of the money raised so far. Mike and Josh have been out in the community spreading the word to help with the fundraising. They have signs posted in various restaurants such as Taco Mac and in growler stores like Blind Murphy. Blind Murphy donated $1 from every 64 oz growler sold last weekend to Jekyll’s cause.
There will be tours and tastings once they are up and running this summer very much like what Sweetwater and Red Brick offer. They aren’t allowed to sell beer onsite, just tastings. Down the road there might be events and gatherings held at the brewery. It’s still very early in the whole process so plans might change.
Beer and brewing are a passion of Mike and Josh. Both are very excited to bring that passion to Alpharetta with Jekyll Brewing. If you want to help them out, visit www.kickstarter.com/projects/41362897/jekyll-brewing-alpharetta-ga-hop-dang-diggity to donate before this Saturday. You can find them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter @jekyllbrewing.