Memphis Made to begin brewing in Cooper-Young

If Drew Barton is right, 2013 will be a big year for beer in Memphis: Sometime between April and September, locals will begin sipping his new brand of craft brews with a Cooper-Young flavor.

Memphis Made Brewing is in the buildout phase inside its 6,000-square-foot space at 768 Cooper south of Central for a production brewery system with a capacity to produce 1,000 barrels a week. That’s 248,000 pint glasses in beer terms.

The brewery’s first two offerings will be an India Pale Ale and a Kolsch. Plans call for a tasting room, tours and on-premises keg and growler sales but at first, Memphis Made will be found only at Memphis-area bars and restaurants. Barton said several restaurants have signed on, but he isn’t revealing names yet.

Barton, a White Station graduate who worked his way up to head brewmaster at Asheville’s French Broad brewery before moving back home, hopes it will only be the beginning for Memphis Made.

“Everybody that’s involved in this is very much passionate about Memphis and feel like it’s made them who they are,” Barton said, “so we feel like we’re Memphis made.”

While in Asheville, a small North Carolina town that claims the title Beer City thanks to its sheer number of breweries, pubs and festivals, Barton and his wife Melodie planned their return to Memphis and spent two years looking for homes in Cooper-Young.

“This is the only neighborhood we wanted to be in,” he said.

Unfortunately, there weren’t many available commercial spaces that could accommodate a production brewery and Barton had started looking in other areas when the building’s owner put up a for lease sign. The industrial space had been vacant for about 20 years.

“He wanted to see a brewery in his building,” Barton said. “He was excited about it.”

Memphis Made will be one of two craft breweries set to open in Memphis this year, joining longtime local craft brew pioneers Boscos and Ghost River; High Cotton also is opening a production brewery in The Edge district near downtown.

Barton said there are plenty of customers to support a craft beer industry in Memphis, which for years had only one brewery while smaller cities sported several.

“This year in particular, I think is gonna be good,” Barton said. “I think there’s gonna be a lot of different beers coming into the market and think with High Cotton and ourselves coming online this year, I think this is gonna be a real boom for Memphis beer.”

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– David Royer

Author: LampLighter

The voice of Cooper-Young, a vibrant, diverse neighborhood to live, work and play, in the heart of Midtown Memphis, Tennessee.

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