SweetWater’s expansion is in full swing – check out the rendering of what it’ll look like

Just 7 short years after out growing our first brewery off of Fulton Industrial Boulevard in the “Hourly Entertainment and Hobo” district we have done it to ourselves again!  Outgrew the building.  Fortunately this time we are not in the hood.  We are in a much friendlier part of town; the Ansley Park/South Buckhead/Midtown neighborhood we call home.  This area sure has been friendly to us, and the 2000 or so people a week that visit the brewery are a site to see.

Our sales since we moved here in 2004 have grown quickly and steadily – which is just how we like it.  fast enough to keep us on our toes, and the creative juices flowing, but not too fast that we lose site of where we are selling our beer, who is selling it, and how fresh it is once it makes into new folks hands.  We are now the 27th largest Craft Brewery in the country, but our beer is only available in GA and the 5 states we share a border with.  Bigger isn’t always better!  Fresh beer is though, and that is what we are most passionate about at the brewery, if you’ve seen the hop cop on patrol you’ll agree – that girl means business.  You need to come see the brewery and the construction in process for yourselves if you have the chance to swing through Atlanta.  Of course our tours are the perfect time to see the sites, kick the tires, taste our beers, and learn a little more about SweetWater, but even if Wed – Fri from 5:30 – 7:30 or Sat from 2:30 – 4:30 don’t fit the schedule pass on through.  We may actually we working (occasionally that is true!) , but do the drive by, think about where we came from, remember what it was like the first time your had a SweetWater, and raise a toast to all the great beer drinkers throughout the southeast who have supported us from day one, back with the drug dealers and hookers off of Fulton Ind, to where we are now.  We are still the same people that created this brand, just with a little less hair, a little bigger bellies, and soon enough – some shinier new toys!

We’ll have much more to share with you as the pieces get put into the place, but for now we wanted you to know some of the stats about what is happening down here on Ottley Drive!

Brewery construction is being led our founder Freddy Bensch and our Brewmaster Mark Medlin

  • Construction on the new building (center of the photo) began in July and should be finished by November
  • Expanding from 26,000 square feet to 114,000 square feet
  • An additional 400,000 barrels capacity, taking us from 100,000 this year, to 500,000 once we are finished
  • in 2010 we sold 77,000 barrels and this year we are on pace for well over 90,000 barrels sold
  • on the roof will be a 157 KwH Solar Array, the largest private system the city of Atlanta – reduces the need for over 300,000 lbs of CO2, 19,000 gallons of gas, 176,000 lbs of coal per year – and the ROI in this should be within 3 years
  • new building in the center will house – new packaging hall, new QA lab, new keg filler, new offices, outdoor deck, new machine shop, and an additional event space
  • new packaging hall will feature a brand new 550 btl/min krones filler and bottling line, along with a brand new keg line, all to increase the quality of our packaged beers
  • we are building an actual merchandise shop where our current maintenance room is, just behind the wall of the existing t shirt stand
  • Trails for access from the street to the Beltline will be built next to our building.  SweetWater sits at the end of one of the spurs to this proposed and in the works “necklace” of parks, trails and green spaces that will circle Atlanta
  • And this is phase 1 of the plan – phase 2 will be the addition of more fermentation and brite tanks, most will be 1000 bbls tanks
  • phase 3 will be the installation of a new 250 bbl brew house to supplement the existing 50 bbl system we are brewing on 24 hours a day 6 days a week currently

check in to our expansion page on our website and check back as we add more videos, photos, and details of the expansion, and join us later this year as we break the seal on this sucker!  Here’s hoping we don’t have to do this again in 7 more years!!!!