New Brewery on Tap for Cooper-Young

By Sarah Baker

A new brewery is headed to Cooper-Young.

Memphis native and craft beer enthusiast Drew Barton plans to open Memphis Made Brewing Co. LLC at 768 S. Cooper St. near York Avenue along with two other silent partners by mid-2013. The 6,000-square-foot space is adjacent to Signworks and owned by Richard Sullivan.

Barton is a founding member of the Cooper-Young Regional Beerfest committee and part-time bartender at the Flying Saucer. He spent five years working his way from delivery driver to head brewer at Asheville, N.C.-based French Broad Brewery and recently moved back to Memphis.

“I started home brewing when I was in college, and as soon as I made that first batch, I knew that that’s what I wanted to do with the rest of my life,” Barton said. “Since then, I just have made it a goal to get into the brewing industry.”

Barton and his wife live in Cooper-Young, so finding a spot in the neighborhood was ideal. That means he can walk to work, plus the facility’s configurations are laid out to Memphis Made Brewing Co.’s advantage.

“It’s got the height requirements we need and it’s wide open, so that was a benefit of being able to put larger equipment in there,” Barton said. “There’s quite a few bars in the neighborhood and we’re not far from Downtown and other bars in Midtown.”

Memphis Made Brewing Co. will distribute locally to begin with and will then “see where this thing takes us,” Barton said.

The group projects to brew around 1,000 barrels for the first year and ramp up operations from there. Memphis Made Brewing Co. will produce beer using a 10-barrel brewing system; a barrel is 31 U.S. gallons.

The brewery will open its doors with an IPA and a Kolsch to begin with and add seasonal beers over time as more capital is pumped into production capacity. Kolsch is a German-style beer that Barton describes as a pilsner meets a cream ale.

“It’s got that clean, crisp bite of a pilsner, but it’s also a little smoother, so it’s got that smoothness of a cream ale,” Barton said. “It’s a very approachable beer, but it’s a style that has a little bit more flavor than your traditional American light lagers.”

Barton will be Memphis Made Brewing Co.’s sole brewer to start out. New and used equipment is being sourced from “all over.” The architect for the project is Arthur Nave.

Memphis Made Brewing Co. joins other Memphis-based breweries Boscos Brewing Co., Ghost River Brewing Co. and High Cotton Brewing Co. – which is under development in the Edge District but has been sampling around town at events like MemFix. Still, Barton said there’s plenty of room in the local market for craft beers.

“Coming from Ashville where the population in the city is roughly 75,000 people and there are now over 12 breweries in town,” Barton said. “Obviously, their beer culture is a little different than Memphis, but I think that someday we can get to that level.”

While Memphis Made Brewing Co. will initially only be a production brewery, it has future plans to open its doors for brewery tours and a small tasting room. Memphis Made also plans to host beer dinners at local restaurants to help educate consumers about the history of brewing and the brewing process.