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VOL. 129 | NO. 66 | Friday, April 4, 2014

New Partners Sign On to Tennessee Brewery Effort

By Andy Meek

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This weekend, volunteers will return to the Tennessee Brewery property to continue getting it ready for Tennessee Brewery Untapped, a six-week series of community events that will run April 24 through June 1.

This weekend, volunteers will return to the Tennessee Brewery to continue getting it ready for Tennessee Brewery Untapped, a six-week series of community events.

(Daily News File/Andrew J. Breig)

Additional “community builds” will follow April 12 and 19. The volunteer work is needed because plans for Untapped continue to expand, with new partner organizations signing on to the effort this week as well as word that the effort’s organizers have been granted a license to sell beer during the event.

Participating in the beer sales will be all-local companies, including High Cotton Brewing Co., Ghost River Brewing, Wiseacre Brewing and Memphis Made Brewing. New partners and contributors who will be joining Untapped include Montgomery Martin, which is donating construction supplies and labor; Cash Saver Cost Plus Food Outlet, which is donating beverage supplies and equipment; Memphis Botanic Garden, which is donating plants, flowers and landscaping expertise; Old City Millwork and Jason Johns, donating furniture designs and materials; and Sache, donating its services for custom Untapped apparel and merchandise sales.

The live music schedule for Untapped’s first weekend also has been finalized. Caleb Sweazy will perform April 25, followed by Apollo Mighty April 26 and Josh Crosby and Jeremy Stanfill of Star & Micey, also on April 26.

Those performances will be acoustic, without amplifiers, and they’ll finish by 8 each night.

Memphis businessman Taylor Berger is part of the team of organizers behind Untapped, which was conceived as a short-term fix for the brewery’s long-vacant status. The hope he and others on the team share is that it will show a creative solution to the vacancy by thinking small instead of waiting for a top-dollar redevelopment that might not materialize – or even be feasible.

Berger and Tommy Pacello will make a presentation at Ignite Memphis next week titled “Pre-vitalization: A new calculus for redevelopment,” with the “pre-vitalization” phrase referring to the kind of project organizers see Untapped as representing.

“When the current owners of the historic Tennessee Brewery announced their plan to demolish the building,” Berger said this week, “the reality of losing such an iconic structure hit us hard. So we decided to start a community conversation about the brewery and other buildings like it.”

Other members of the team behind Untapped include real estate broker Andy Cates, businessman and restaurateur Michael Tauer and communications professional Doug Carpenter. Also involved are the Mayor’s Innovation Delivery Team, which is advising the group, and the Memphis Regional Design Center.

The short-term arrangement at the brewery is a variation on the MEMShop concept pioneered by the innovation delivery team, which involves opening storefront businesses on a short-term basis to create momentum in an area.

“We believe a new calculus is necessary to revitalize complex historic buildings,” Berger said. “(It) starts with a strategy we call pre-vitalization. Like MEMFix and MEMShop, pre-vitalization is a temporary activation of a site to uncover hidden value, demonstrate … redevelopment concepts and generally to shine a bright light on what might be the most seductive building in all of Memphis.”

Hours of operation for Untapped – which is being produced by doug carpenter & associates, Colliers International and Truck Stop – will be 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursdays and Sundays and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

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