Brewery planned for downtown Macon

Two local men are planning to open a beer brewery and taproom in downtown Macon.

A newly created company, Macon Beer Co. is expected to move into 345 Oglethorpe St., said co-owner Cory Smith. While the deal for the 7,600-square-foot building is still being negotiated, Smith said, “We will get it ... I’m hoping this week.”

The building has been vacant for a long time, and seemed to be most recently used by an electrical company, he said.

“We will be producing large quantities of beer and we sell that beer to a distributor who is also in Macon, who then sells it to the retailer,” Smith said. “We actually won’t be producing until early 2013 and hope to have a grand opening around Cherry Blossom (Festival) time.”

The five-year plan is to be producing 10,000 barrels per year. A barrel is 31 gallons, he said.

“We are shooting for 500 barrels a year to start,” Smith said.

Smith and co-owner Jeremy Knowles will hold tours and tastings in its taproom at least twice a week, Smith said.

“We can’t actually sell beer to the pubic. ... They have to go through the retailers,” because of state law, he said.

One of the reasons Macon was chosen for the planned brewery is that “Macon has the best water,” which is an important ingredient in beer, Smith said.

Plans are to open with two brands of beer, a pale ale and a brown ale.

The company also expects to have rotating brands for special occasions, such as a cherry-wheat beer during the Cherry Blossom Festival.

The brewery will be a full-time business for the owners, who were college roommates. Knowles is a chemical engineer and Smith is a psychologist.

Macon Beer Co. was one of 20 finalists in the Macon Mogul competition this year created to encourage small-business ventures in downtown Macon.

Savannah-based TailsSpin, a company selling high-quality food and supplies for dogs and cats, won the contest. It is set to open at the end of August or first of September.

The competition was a project of The Gateway Initiative funded through the Peyton Anderson Foundation, which helped with start-up funds and services for the winner.

To contact writer Linda S. Morris, call 744-4223.