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Hosts Tim Dennis and Brian Hewitt bring you interviews and insights from the amazing people across the world of craft beer.  Fun and lighthearted discussions meant to educate on a variety of topics including new beer releases, brewery happenings, beer laws, homebrewing tips, and a whole lot more.  Sit back, crack open a cold one, and tune in every Saturday for the Beer Guys Radio Show!

Feb 12, 2019

Craft breweries and distilleries thrive in downtown developments

Georgia's craft beer and spirits industries are booming.  Thanks to recent legislation, breweries and distilleries can now offer sales direct to the consumer from their location.  Cities such as Woodstock, Roswell, Athens, and LaGrange thrive with breweries as part of their downtown areas.  Nationwide craft beer and spirits continue to grow in popularity across with craft beer sales up 8% in 2017 and craft spirits seeing an impressive 23.7% growth rate.

Consumers also have a renewed passion for their city’s Downtown areas.  Many people make the choice to enjoy their leisure time closer to home, and having a variety of amenities available helps them to accomplish that.  Breweries and distilleries frequently become key destinations in downtown areas, helping to spur the growth of related shopping and dining businesses and increasing tourism.

In this podcast, we'll hear from local government officials, real estate and project developers, as well as brewery and distillery owners on the benefits of attracting these businesses to your developments, along with advice on how to do so.

Presented by the Georgia Municipal Association.

For more information visit


  • Mayor Mike Eason of Dawsonville
  • Cheryl Wood, Founder of Dawsonville Distillery
  • Keri Stevens, Assistant City Manager of Avondale Estates
  • Nathan McGarity, Co-owner and Developer of Oconee Brewing
  • Taylor Lamm, Co-owner and Brewmaster of Oconee Brewing
  • Rob Hopek and Stacia Familo-Hopek of The Lost Druid Brewery


  • Tim Dennis, Co-host and Co-founder of Beer Guys Radio

Presentation Guide

  • Podcast Introduction | 00:00
  • Panel Introduction | 00:51
  • A distillery in city hall | 01:17
  • Challenges of opening a distillery in a public space | 03:02
  • Structuring the partnership | 03:57
  • City, state, and federal hurdles | 04:28
  • Addressing public opposition | 06:32
  • New laws allow direct sales from breweries and distilleries | 08:54
  • Increasing tourism (visit brewery/distillery, festivals and events) | 09:33
  • Changes for an existing brewery after the passage of SB85 | 10:32
  • Georgia's standing in breweries per capita and economic impact | 11:40
  • More on increasing tourism and direct sales, new brewery definitions | 13:04
  • Oconee's Project Hummingbird - Easing cost of entry for new breweries | 14:48
    For more information on Project Hummingbird contact Nathan McGarity at Oconee Brewing)
  • Equipment costs to open a brewpub | 16:55
  • Selecting a building for your brewery or distillery (financial and construction considerations) | 18:05
  • Assistant City Manager on why breweries and distilleries are appealing | 23:53
  • Lost Druid Brewery on why they chose to build in a smaller community | 25:03
  • Building a brewery with own-premise sales in mind, catering to your local community | 26:12
  • Advice for city managers or other officials to attract breweries and distilleries | 27:54
    (Addressing ordinances, permitting, zoning, tax incentives, assisting with county/state issues)
  • Encouraging changes from cities without existing ordinances | 30:00
  • Breweries and distilleries are an "economic catalyst" for their communities | 30:55
  • Breweries offer gathering spaces and encourage community events | 32:08
  • Industry growth and trends, what the future holds | 33:51
  • Craft beer is for everyone | 35:28
  • Combining a restaurant with your brewery / partnering with food trucks | 37:07

You are free to share and distribute this work under a Creative Commons license.  Please see the information below for proper attribution requirements.

Creative Commons License
The Benefits of Attracting Breweries and Distilleries to Your Downtown Developments by Georgia Municipal Association / Beer Guys Radio
is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.