There is a large milestone looming in the close future as next week, at the time of this writing, anyway, our production team is scheduled to brew our 200th batch of beer. What’s it going to be? You’ll likely find out soon, but we’re pretty excited about it and tipping our cap to some classics for sure.
Believe it or not – for Google to officially recognize you as a business, they send you a post card in the mail to confirm your address. Somehow it seems like the ultimate oxymoron; for the one of the biggest tech companies in the world to rely on a postcard and U.S. mail service to confirm our address as a business. Until you get the postcard you are essentially a nobody but after the postcard you instantaneously become a somebody. We wanted so badly to be a somebody.
As we started this process, we realized that we would need to activate mail service to the Athentic Brewery and then buy a mailbox. Geesh – why couldn’t we just go stand outside and wave at the Google satellites in orbit above the brewery. Isn’t “big brother” watching everything?
We temporarily attached a mailbox next to our front door at the brewery using shipping tape and then anxiously laid in wait for the Google postcard to arrive. Each day for weeks we checked the mailbox. Slowly lifting the lid and peering inside but nada, nothing, zilch, zip, zero. Was Google playing with us – testing our resolve? Perhaps or maybe we just needed to try again, so we returned to the post office to confirm our mail service was activated and sent a reply email to Google to ask them to resend the postcard. After that, things improved. We started to receive mail but all of it was bills and junk mail.
Then one day, in the midst of demolition, I hear an eerie cry from the front of the brewery. Oh my God, has Mark electrocuted himself or even worse I thought. I come running to the front of the brewery expecting to find Mark laid out on the floor but instead Mark rounds the corner with hands raised in the air – clenching tight in his fist – yes, you guessed it – the glorious postcard from Google while exclaiming “We are Somebody!!!”
Nothing get’s the blood pumping like the swing of a sledge hammer into a perfectly fine wall only to watch it tremble and eventually buckle under the onslaught. That is the essence of demo day. And it really gets exciting when Dawn says “watch this” as she takes a not so elegant leap towards a wall with a primal scream and extended leg. As the drywall dust settles, we find Dawn sprawled out on the floor wondering how she got there. No worries – she is fine, except for her ego.
As the walls and false ceiling come done and the carpet comes up, the facility begins to reveal its true potential as a production brewery and tasting room and it is awesome to behold.
As everything is de-constructed – we sort through all the materials trying to be thoughtful about what could potentially be reused once we start renovation, what could be donated and what could be recycled. It takes more time doing it this way, but we are glad to be good stewards of the materials and minimize the impact on the environment.
A few hidden clues were found along the way that eluded to the previous use of the building as a physical rehabilitation practice. The best was perhaps the guidebook on how to have sex after recovering from a back injury. After all that demo work – that came in quite handy (LOL). The original use of the building was for a printing company. We don’t know much about this early chapter of the building’s history but would be interested to learn more.
We are so grateful for all the great help from our friends and family during this demo phase. We crank the tunes and get into our rhythm with some people helping to tear things done, some sorting and some making trips back and forth to the dumpster. At end of each demo day – we are covered in dust but smiling ear to ear.
After years of searching the Athentic Brewing Company Finally has a Home for the Brewery!
The first place we ever considered for our brewery location was a 4000 square foot warehouse on Paradise Blvd. It was literally in the shadow of the Terrapin Brewing Company. Since then, we have probably poked around 20-30 industrial/ commercial properties in or about Athens Georgia with one excursion that lead us over to Monroe GA. Every property had potential in some form or another to become our brewery, but various circumstances always prevented us from closing the deal; too far away from Athens, too small, too costly, not enough parking, owner did like the idea of a brewery but mostly because we were simply not fully prepared to pull the trigger.
My wife said, “The right property will find you when you are truly ready”.
As we continued to explore properties, the one factor that stood out was that for a smaller sized community brewery, the location would be the most important factor. The brewery needed to be part of a destination and in the heart of Athens. This realization gave us new focus and lead us to preparing letters of intent on four properties located in downtown Athens, at the Beachwood Mall, on Pulaski St. and in the Normaltown area.
108 Park Ave, Athens GA Makes the Final Cut
As we proceeded with negotiations on these four properties, some dropped away, and others rose to the surface. The final push lead us to securing a lease at 108 Park Ave. We feel that this location is absolutely perfect for a local brewery; next to Normaltown, close to a variety of neighborhoods, directly across from the Piedmont Athens Regional Hospital and within close proximity to Bottleworks and downtown Athens.
When Will we be Open?
We have already started cleaning and sprucing up the exterior and will begin interior renovations once we have the proper permitting from the City of Athens/ Clarke County. We are anticipating an opening in mid-2019. Stay tuned for more details.
Back in 2014, Mark Johnson, Rob Flakus and I were sitting around the brew kettle waiting for the boil to finish and we got to pondering what to call ourselves as homebrewers. Someone said “How bout Kudzu Brewing Company” and we all stopped and said, “Hey, that sounds pretty good”. The more we said it the more we liked it and it just sorta took and before we knew it, that became our name. In fact, we actually brewed a Blonde Ale with Kudzu Flower that turned out pretty fantastic so it would appear that Kudzu was really growing on us (get the pun?).
As we started aspiring to open an actual brewery we just assumed the name would stay the same. We did some google searches and found a few references to a Kudzu Porter by the Back Forty Beer Company (remember this for later) and a reference to another homebrewer in North Carolina that was going by the same name. Assuming that neither of these was going to be a conflict, we established our legal business entity as Kudzu Brewing Company. Deylah McCarty developed a very cool logo with the Kudzu leaf as the center piece and we even went as far as to have pint glasses made with this logo.
At roughly the same time, we engaged an attorney to help us get the name ‘Kudzu Brewing Company’ officially trademarked. Now, remember when I said earlier that the Back Forty Beer Company had a Kudzu Porter. Well, as it turns out they also had a trademark on the name ‘Kudzu’ in the category of beer. So what we were just now realizing is that proceeding with the name Kudzu Brewing Company would be risky. We decided to reach out the folks at the Back Forty Brewing Company to see if we could share the name ‘Kudzu’. The answer was a quick “No”. We then proposed buying the name, but what they wanted, we simply could not afford.
OK – so now what do we do? We needed a new name and fast. We brainstormed no less than 300 names and honestly, I think the list was closer to 500 names by the time we were finished, most of which were already in use, and for the others we simply could not reach a consensus. As an act of desperation, we were going to use the name Konka Donk Brewing Company. The name ‘Konka Donk’ was derived from a trip to the Charleston Beaches where my wife and I were hunting for Conch shells and I initially was using the name for our porter beer. After being tired of people asking what the heck is ‘Konka Donk’ or people thinking it had something to do with ‘Badonkkadonk’ after which I found out the meaning, I was like, “Why is this happening to me?”
So we were back to the drawing board once again and this time we happened to revisit a name that was previously on the list but had not made much of an initial impression. The name was ‘Athentic’. It was a made-up word that playfully combined two words; Authentic and Athens. The name ‘Athentic’ is our way of describing in a single word both our love and dedication to the Athens area and our desire to remain true and genuine in the way that we brew beer and in the way that we create great experiences for our friends and future customers.
And that is how we became the Athentic Brewing Company. Cheers!