Greetings from the hollers of Cottontown! What a time we have had over the past few weeks. Let’s just skip all the small talk and cover some of the more important happenings recently. Well, for starters you may recall that I mentioned the whole county zoning resolution thing. On March 17th the Sumner County Commission passed the amendment that would allow Breweries and Wineries to be permitted in Agricultural Zoned Districts under appeal. Under this resolution falls 8 stipulations a winery or brewery must adhere to. One of those being that I won’t be able to sell any product on site at the brewery. Lots of people have asked me about where my beer will be sold and if they would be able to come buy products directly from the brewery. We didn’t originally plan to have a taproom anyway, due to the narrow dead-end road we’re located on.
My theory is this: I plan to brew and package the beers in kegs. Being such a small batch system, brewing beers 77 gallons at time, I will be limited by volume. Instead of selling beer out of my brewery I would rather use the product as a tool to enhance and stimulate local business. Another facet of this is my exclusive Sumner County self-distribution. Basically, if someone wants to drink a Briarscratch Beer they will have to make a destination out of one of our awesome local retailers. If someone from Nashville, Bowling Green, Murfreesboro, New York, etc wants to try Briarscratch, then they must come spend their money in Sumner County. You came all this way to try the beer, probably gonna wanna getcha some supper too, right?!
On May 8th, 2014, the Sumner County Board of Zoning Appeals granted me approval for the establishment of Briarscratch Brewery on my agricultural zoned property in Cottontown! Official!! Upon this property is an existing 40×30 structure awaiting customization. Lots of construction left to do. Bathrooms, refrigeration, plumbing, various electrical, floor drains, insulation, gutters, the list goes on and on. Last week a local backhoe crew installed our septic system. This was interesting to see. Due to the size of the system, geography of the property, location of the creeks, and the location of the building, an uphill pumping system had to be installed. I wanted to make sure the system was adequate to handle any amount of liquid I had to put down the drain so we went with a bit larger setup than one rated for just 2 little bathrooms. Next project will be our “city” water supply, followed by bathroom installation. Our “country” water supply is just down the dusty trail at the spring.
What about the beer? I’ve brewed something like 8 beers over the past 8 weeks, with some of those being variations, like Liquid Lunch…a peanut butter and jelly version of Cottontown Brown. There was also Strawberry Shortcake, a strawberry and vanilla variation of Cottontown Brown. I dropped a vanilla bean in a keg of Mudpit Porter as well and ended up with a delicious variation. I must say though, unexpectedly, my Dandelion Saison, “Spring Weeds”, was a big hit at this year’s Taste of Gallatin. I gave out around 180 samples of brew. I will end this lengthy post with the most commonly asked question at Taste of Gallatin. “So where can I buy this?” to which I replied, “nowhere….yet.”
Patience, dedication, hard work, and a love for the craft will get us there.