Plans Coming Together for Tennessee Brewery Untapped

By Andy Meek

Plans are taking shape for the six-week “temporary activation” project coming to the Tennessee Brewery at 495 Tennessee St., an initiative starting in late April that will be called “Tennessee Brewery Untapped.”

The effort to revitalize the Tennessee Brewery as part of a six-week initiative called Tennessee Brewery Untapped will include a cafe serving locally sourced drinks, food trucks and live music.

(Daily News File/Andrew J. Breig)

The effort will include a mix of regular and spontaneous programming, including a café serving locally sourced beverages, food trucks, mobile retail, live music, movie screenings, workshops and other kinds of “do-it-yourself, makeshift fun,” according to the project’s organizers.

Tennessee Brewery Untapped is being produced by a team of planners, citizens and activists that include commercial real estate broker Andy Cates, businessmen and restaurateurs Taylor Berger and Michael Tauer, and communications professional Doug Carpenter.

Also playing a part is the Mayor’s Innovation Delivery Team, which is advising the group, plus Memphis Botanic Gardens and the Memphis Regional Design Center.

Organizers are describing “Tennessee Brewery Untapped” as one of the largest tactical urbanism and temporary real estate activation projects in the country. Cates calls it an example of an emerging concept in real estate known as “pre-vitalization,” a forward-looking attempt to show what’s possible for the long-vacant historic landmark by thinking small and creatively instead of holding out for a wholesale, top-dollar redevelopment that might not materialize.

Developers have for years tried to come up with concepts that include turning the brewery into everything from condominiums to a hotel. Each time, they’ve run up against the same problems, such as the fact the brewery doesn’t have much in the way of developable land.

The short-term arrangement at the brewery is a variation on the MemSHOP concept pioneered by the Mayor’s Innovation Delivery Team, which involves opening storefront businesses on a short-term basis to create momentum in an area.

“Tennessee Brewery Untapped” will be open every Thursday through Sunday from April 24 through June 1. Hours will be 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursdays and Sundays and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

Schedule updates will be available via the project’s Facebook page, and by searching the hashtag #BreweryUntapped on Twitter, Vine and Instagram.

Admission to all events will be free and open to the public. Part of the proceeds from retail sales on certain nights will be donated to local charities.