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VOL. 130 | NO. 36 | Monday, February 23, 2015

New Brewery Venture Eyeing Crosstown

By Andy Meek

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When they launched a Facebook page at the end of January, the first post for which was simply the logo for the craft beer brewery they’re planning, Will Goodwin and Clark Ortkiese didn’t expect the flood of interest their concept would generate.

Especially since right now they’ve got a name – Crosstown Brewing Co. – and not much else that’s official.

They have some general goals they’re working toward – opening in the Crosstown development, or even just nearby, Goodwin explains, and they’d like to be up and running towards the end of 2016.

Ortkiese actually lives near Crosstown, the development that’s been part of a years-long transformation centered around the 1.5 million-square-foot Crosstown building built in 1927.

The team behind the redevelopment is looking to bring arts, education and health care uses to the property, where construction on the $200 million project is under way now.

“The whole Crosstown development has been cooking for a few years now, and we just thought, how cool would it be to put a brewery in the neighborhood when all that goes down,” Goodwin said. “We don’t have the location tied down just yet. But we’re really excited about the revitalization of Crosstown as a neighborhood and for Memphis as a whole.”

Part of that city-wide revitalization he described is in the form of an explosion of fresh restaurant options and the sense of community that tends to accompany them. He points to chef-owners like Kelly English and the owners of Hog & Hominy, as well as to a “kind of rebirth of food and drink culture, and we want to be a part of that.”

Indeed, because of the Memphis food scene’s banner year in 2014, with openings of plenty of eateries unique to Memphis, especially in East Memphis, Midtown and Downtown, I Love Memphis blogger Holly Whitfield took to describing it as a “foodnado” descending on the city.

Referring to all the restaurants that have opened over the past year, and the activity already under way when it comes to the food scene this year, local food blogger John Minervini, who runs a site called “The Fork,” likewise insists: “There has never been a better time to eat in Memphis.”

Enter the Crosstown Brewing Co. partners, who are talks at the moment with the team behind the Crosstown redevelopment. They’ll arrive on a local brewing scene that already includes Memphis Made Brewing Co., Wiseacre, Ghost River and High Cotton.

“Basically, we’ve been home brewers, we grew up here and have about 11 years of combined home brewing experience together,” Goodwin said.

“Throughout human history, every village had its own brewery,” he said. “You’d go down to the pub and have a beer, to connect with people, and we want to bring a modern twist on that. We think Memphis can definitely use more. Towns like Huntsville and Little Rock, they’ve got six, seven or more.”

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