Creature Comforts Brewery builds out in downtown Athens
By Nick Coltrain
The New Year marked the start of the new brewery in downtown Athens.
Creature Comforts Brewing Company started moving its giant vats into the former Snow Tire building at Hancock Avenue and Pulaski Street at the beginning of the year. Its co-brewmaster, Adam Beauchamp, hopes to be boiling beer within 90 days or sooner, if necessary permits sail through, and priming draught handles by March. He said they’re talking with area distributors now about carrying their beers, but it’s too soon to speak of inked deals.
Even months out, Beauchamp’s tenor picks up at the mention of the beers they’ll be serving – India Pale Ale, a craft pilsner and a Berliner Weiss, described as German wheat beer with a hint of tartness.
“We’re always saying it can always be better,” Beauchamp said, walking by the equipment while construction workers toiled away. He grinned and added: “We’re getting to the point where we need to say, ‘No more tweaking, let’s brew a big batch of beer.’”
Even as they prepare for large-scale manufacturing, Beauchamp said experimentation will remain a fabric of the brewery. The old warehouse Creature Comforts calls home features a long, narrow back room perfect for aging beer and a mini lab for brewers and would-be brewers wishing to experiment.
“Anything that people can dream up, we want them to be able to try it out,” Beauchamp said.
The setup for tours — Georgia law prohibits straight sales from a brewery — would be similar to Terrapin Brewing Company’s: Buy a souvenir glass, sample the brews and see the brewhouse. The brewhouse in this case is a refurbished car dealership-turned-tire shop with a decades-old history. Beauchamp said they found old memorabilia from the building’s prior tenants and are repurposing old heartwood pine for the space.
They aim to pay tribute to the history of the building as they move forward with the wood and more. Plans call for the Snow Tire sign now fronting the building to be mirrored on the interior; old lighting is strung together now to form a kind of chandelier over the bar area.
They likewise don’t want to disrupt the existing beer ecology in Athens, but rather complement it.
Beauchamp joked that he wanted the kind of relationship with Terrapin where they could borrow hops from each other. More than that, Beauchamp wants the two to act like as a bigger magnet for beer enthusiasts throughout the South — an idea endorsed by Terrapin as well.
Julia Weckback, a spokesperson for Terrapin, said they’re excited for the new brewery and think it’ll be good for Athens as a whole, especially with the soaring popularity of beer tourism. She noted Athens’ spot between Atlanta and Asheville, N.C., two locations with strong beer communities already.
“I think it’s a perfect fit,” Weckback said. “People are going to be going between those two places anyway and now they can be stopping off in Athens.”