If you’ve been paying the slightest bit of attention to what’s going on in Gwinnett lately, then you already know that breweries are popping up all over town with even more in the works. But why the brew boom? And what’s the big draw for visitors? (besides delicious beer, of course).
Gwinnett burst onto the brewery scene in the fall of 2017 with the opening of Slow Pour Brewing Company, located right off the square in Lawrenceville. Since then, Gwinnett has seen 12 more breweries pop up with more in the works, and each one brings a little something different to the table. From Latin influences and outdoor beer gardens to full kitchens and craft cocktails, every spot has “that thing” that makes them stand out and brings the crowds back time and time again. But it’s not just the brewery owners that are benefitting from the growing popularity of this industry. In May 2021, the Beer Institute and the National Beer Wholesalers Association released their biennial Beer Serves America report on the economic importance of the nation’s beer industry, which showed that the U.S. beer industry supports more than 53,000 jobs in Georgia and contributes more than $8.5B to the state’s economy.
Gwinnett is definitely reaping the benefits of these economic powerhouses, and there’s no sign of slowing down. The three new kids on the Gwinnett brewing block are Blackbird Farms Brewery in Lilburn, Kettlerock Brewing in Peachtree Corners and Cultivation Brewing Co in Norcross. With the simple goal of creating a world-class farm-inspired brewery centered around the community, Matt Williams brought Blackbird Farms Brewery to life. The blackbird represents knowledge and experience, which seems fitting since Matt brings 20 years of craft brewing experience to this new establishment. Kettlerock Brewery, a microbrewery and taproom located in Peachtree Corners, is family-owned (eight relatives!) and offers a core set of beers in a range of styles, as well as a rotating selection of seasonal varieties. Cultivation Brewing Co is a passion project that grew out of a landscaping business, a love of craft beer and deep roots in historic Norcross. The team is passionate about not only crafting great beer but cultivating a community where patrons feel like family.
If you’ve spent any time at a local brewery, then you know the attraction is about more than just great beer – it’s about the atmosphere that comes along with those tasty libations. The good news is that no matter what you’re into, there is sure to be an event or activity happening at a brewery near you. Love playing cornhole? Grab your teammates (and drinking buddies) and join Peachstate Cornhole for a blind draw tournament every Wednesday night at Stillfire Brewing in Suwanee. Billiards more your style? Head to Indio Brewing in Sugar Hill every Sunday at 3 p.m. for a competitive game of darts. Looking for a fun way to celebrate the red, white & brew? Join the team over at Slow Pour Brewing in Lawrenceville for an Independence Day patio party on July 3. If you’re more of an intellectual, then head over to Anderby Brewing in Peachtree Corners every Thursday at 7:30 p.m. for “geeks who drink” trivia night. If that sounds like plenty to keep you busy, just know that we’ve barely scratched the surface. Whether you’re looking for live music, a charitable cause to support, a furry friend to adopt, or an excuse to drink beer after a yoga sesh – there’s a brewery for that.
So what do we know? We know that Gwinnett has some amazing breweries. We know that these local hotspots are great for our local economy, and we know that there’s more to the brew scene than just delicious beer. But now the question is – how can you possibly get around to visit all 13 locations? Have no fear; Southern Beer Tours is here! Southern Beer Tours, owned and operated by Justin Hall, has partnered up with our friends over at Explore Gwinnett to bring you the Gwinnett brewery tour – “Sippin’ In the Suburbs.” For just under $65, you and your friends can be driven around like movie stars as you visit three local Gwinnett breweries (the three stops change throughout the year). The tours run the second Saturday of each month and include tastings and a behind-the-scenes look at how the beers are made. The team at Southern Beer Tours also hosts a walking tour in Lawrenceville on the fourth Saturday of every month. This tour comes in at $45 and includes a visit to Slow Pour Brewing, Ironshield Brewing, Exhibit Ale Growler Shop and even an adult ice cream from Sweet Joy Ice Cream Bar. Be sure to visit southernbeertours.com to stay up to date on tour dates and locations.
Now that you know about the vast and growing beer circuit in Gwinnett, it’s time to get sipping! Check out exploregwinnett.com for a complete list of Gwinnett breweries, and don’t forget to visit each brewery’s website for updated information on hours and events. Cheers!