Andrew Tierce looked over his recently delivered beer-making equipment Tuesday morning and pointed out the spots where each tank will probably sit once everything is in place.
Tierce is one of three partners building a craft brewery called Freight and Rail Brewing Company on South Park Avenue in downtown, and while the business is aiming for an October opening date, the tools needed to brew beer arrived last week.
“It’s all about the beer. It’s all about the community. We just want to build a place for people to come and hang out and come together and enjoy a good beer. There’s nothing complicated about it. People have been doing it for a long time,” Tierce said.
The process began for Tierce about two years ago when he began applying for the three levels of licensing required to make beer — one each from the federal, state and local governments — but things are beginning to pick up now that the equipment has been delivered.
Freight and Rail will serve about eight or 10 beers at a time, said Tierce, but the details regarding types and styles haven’t been nailed down yet. The plan is to offer a tap room where guests can come have a beer, fill a growler or take home a six pack.
The space on the corner of South Park Avenue and Oothcalooga Street will feature a stage, bar and seating in the tap room, with the brewery located in the rear. Though the brewery will not serve food, a new pizzeria, arcade and pub is being developed just next door, and brewery patrons will be encouraged to bring in their own food from anywhere.
Tierce, who is working with Justin Childress and Dakota Rasbury on the project, said the next big milestone will be the delivery of the walk-in coolers. After that the bar will be built and the stage finalized.
Tierce said it was important to him to be downtown and to focus making a truly local beer. As such, Freight and Rail won’t look to distribute beyond the local area in the early stages.
“I think there is a lot of opportunity in smaller towns,” said Tierce, a Calhoun High School graduate who works in production planning when he’s not researching brewing equipment.
He noted that despite a recent surge in the craft brewing business, Georgia still ranks on the lower end of craft breweries per population. A new state law in 2016 that allowed breweries to sell direct to customers fostered that growth, and Tierce said the timing was perfect.
“My dad always said timing is everything,” he said with a laugh.
Ultimately, his goal is to make a hometown beer that Calhoun and Gordon County residents can connect with and feel proud of, while also bringing people downtown.
“In the end we all want downtown to develop. We want businesses here. Craft beverages just go hand-in-hand with downtown development,” Tierce said.