Another Brewery. Because there aren’t enough of those already.
Those are the words that I have heard, sarcastically, many times since beginning to share the vision of Dry County Brewing Company with anyone who will listen. Don’t get me wrong, I understand why that mindset exists. The craft beer industry has experienced extraordinary growth over the past decade; we now have over 3,400 active breweries in the United States, a number that was closer to 1,500 breweries ten short years ago. That statistic alone could be enough to validate the initial sentiment, but I do not subscribe to the same line of thinking. I am more of a glass half full kind of guy.
Look no further than the number of breweries and brewpubs in the State of Georgia (~40) compared to the number of drinking age adults in the state (~7,000,000). If that sounds like an abnormally low ratio that’s because it is: Georgia ranks 45th in terms of breweries per capita in the United States. While we could easily turn this post into a diatribe about an outdated regulatory environment, that is not at all the point of this entry. I simply want to make the point that ranking 45th while being a state that is in many respects one of the most progressive in the South, a state that consumes 180 million gallons (?!) of beer every year, a state that is home to one of the 20 largest craft breweries in the nation, a state that is the birthplace of the single largest beverage manufacturer in the world, and most importantly a state that I have called home (and have loved) for 26 years, is simply unacceptable in my mind. So yes, that is one reason I am starting Dry County Brewing Company, a brewery: because there aren’t enough of those already.
Setting the numbers and statistics aside, an even larger issue I have with the “another brewery” argument is just that: I don’t see Dry County Brewing Company as just “another brewery”. Seven years ago the first batch of homebrew was brought to a boil on my college apartment stove and beer and brewing instantly became my passion. An endless obsession with crafting flavorful, session-able beers as well as big, complex one-offs was born. Beer has consumed me more than I have consumed beer. It is that passion and obsession, which serves as the fuel behind Dry County Brewing Company and the inspiration of our mantra “Make Your Run”. I would hope anyone with a passion this strong would work to make it as large a part of life as possible and to bring the passion to as many people as possible. That is at the heart of Dry County Brewing Company: pursuing a passion, sharing a passion, and inspiring others to do the same.
An equally important reason that Dry County Brewing Company is not just “another brewery” is because it is not located in just another city. When businesses are deciding on location there are often Site Studies utilized, Demographic Characteristics studied, Market Analysis and Growth Projections performed. This wasn’t at all the approach taken with Dry County Brewing Company. The decision on where the brewery would call home was never even in question. I moved to Kennesaw, Georgia in 2010 after graduating from college 90 miles east in Athens. I moved into the spare bedroom of a cramped apartment with a couple of my long time friends still finishing up college at Kennesaw State, and while the living conditions might not sound ideal, the next couple of years were some of the best, the city quickly became the place I called home, and Kennesaw is now as much a part of the fabric of Dry County Brewing Company as any other aspect of the business, apart from maybe the beer.
There are countless uncertainties still to be addressed before officially bringing Dry County Brewing Company to market. We are in negotiations with landlords; we are in discussions with local distributors; we are talking to equipment manufacturers, ingredient suppliers, investors, various levels of government, and countless regulatory agencies. But all of those uncertainties are secondary, as the most important question has already been answered, and the answer is a resounding “Yes”.
A brewery that stands for something. A brewery that inspires. A brewery rooted in the local community. Because there can never be enough of those.