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Mmm, beer: Local brewery almost ready to launch

Submitted by Adam Van Brimmer on Thu, 02/28/2013 - 9:06am


If the best things come to those who wait, the Southbound Brewing Company is going to produce the tastiest beer this side of Bavaria.

Entrepreneurs Smith Mathews and Carly Wiggins are weeks away from launching their brewery operations in a manufacturing facility on Lathrop Avenue. The duo have invested two years and more than $2 million in their startup, buying a building and having brewing equipment custom made.

The equipment is in and ready and a large beer cooler is nearly finished. They have an appointment with Savannah City Council on March 21st to get approval for their brewing license and will likely start their first batch a few days later once the state rubberstamps their paperwork.

The Southbound folks have enjoyed a hectic last few months. Not only are they renovating and outfitting their building – laying concrete and carpet, among other things, themselves – they have been proactively reaching out to the neighborhoods around them.

Nearby residents have expressed concerns about Southbound. Many of the issues are due to misperceptions: The neighbors have mistaken Southbound for a brewpub or a bar and not a manufacturing facility. Mathews and Wiggins have attended four neighborhood meetings so far and will participate in another next week. Wiggins said about “95 percent” of those who voice worries in the meetings have left the gathering in support of Southbound’s plans. It’s all a matter of educating them.

Southbound is similarly working to educate city council members. A few have visited their facility thus far, and the hope is to walk all of them through the building before the March 21st vote.

Assuming the city and state sign off in late March, Southbound’s first batch should be ready for delivery in mid to late April. The brewery already has a long list of clients – more than 200 bars and retailers around the region have pre-ordered the product.

This beer drinker can’t wait.


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