MONROE, Ga. – Monroe updated its alcohol ordinance early last year with the hopes of attracting more restaurants, and possibly brewpubs, to its downtown area – and by all appearances, it worked. Tomorrow at noon taps open in the first taproom to hit the area.
Athens-based Southern Brewing Company opens Friday with a brewing facility at 123 N. Lumpkin St. to provide the local area with some of the tastes that have proven so popular in Athens.
“We have a small batch brewery in the space here, a 3-barrel brewing system,” said Dan Flynn, Director of Tap Room Development and Management who will be managing the Monroe location. “We want it to be educational – to let people see how the beer is made.”
The plan is also to host some beer-making classes down the road, but in the meantime they want it to be a place in Monroe where people gather, socialize, drink some beer, watch some of the games on television, possibly play some of the arcade games they have on hand and maybe even order a bite or two from some of the local restaurants.
“We have an informal arrangement with some of the local restaurants to carry their menus,” Flynn said. “People can order off the menu and they’re close enough – they will be able to walk the order over.”
Flynn said they will likely carry the menus from LR Burger, Amici’s, Your Pie and Cheeley’s. They hope to also bring in a food truck or two on occasion to offer up some other options. He said the big glass garage door on the building will be able to open up and provide easy access to the food truck.
Flynn moved to Monroe from Washington DC a little over two months ago to manage the Monroe location of the Southern Brewing Company and has been pleased to see how excited the community is about this new venture. This is the first expansion of the Southern Brewing that began operations in Athens in 2015 with just 10 employees. The company has grown to more than 30 employees and this second facility now opening in Monroe. Flynn said the Monroe location will likely be a template for other possible expansions down the road. There are also some other ideas for the Monroe taproom in the future.
“We have a distillers license so eventually we will distill and sell bottles that are our brand but that’s not anytime soon. It will be down the road sometime,” he said.
Flynn said Steven Brand, VP of sales and marketing, will be helping with the kickoff of the Monroe location and Rick Goddard, who co-founded the Southern Brewing Company with Brian Roth, will also likely spend much of his time at the Monroe location once it opens. The brewery will be open every day from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. going forward.