It all really started in 2017. Then-governor Nathan Deal signed SB85 into law, permitting Georgia breweries to sell their product directly to customers, rather than “hosting a tour with samples.” County and local cities followed suit, adopting new ordinances for breweries that officially kicked off the beer boom in Gwinnett.
Gwinnett’s official first brewery, Slow Pour Brewing Company, opened its downtown Lawrenceville doors in September 2017. Per the Explore Gwinnett website, the county is now home to 10 breweries, with more slated to open in the coming year.
The state remains ripe for growth—even with the industry’s insane growth, numbers still indicate that there is less than one craft brewery per 100,000 drinking-age adults. Georgia ranks 17th largest on the list of craft beer producers in the country, and is the fourth largest beer manufacturer in the country, thanks to the Anheuser-Busch facility in Cartersville and MillerCoors in Albany. The brewery industry was estimated to be worth $1.6 billion to Georgia in 2016, and that was before the 2017 bill allowing on-site sales.
If you’re interested in getting a taste of some of these local craft brews, check out the 10th Annual Suwanee American Craft Beer Fest on March 14. Hopheads can enjoy unlimited tastings of over 350 craft beers without ever leaving Town Center Park. Explore Gwinnett is rolling out a beer passport this spring to showcase all of the new Gwinnett breweries, and there are also plans for a “Trolley on Tap” beer tour later this year.
WHENEVER possible (with four or less people in your party) “belly-up” to the bar and chat it up with the bartenders/beer maestros. Chances are they are there for a passion and will love to share their knowledge. As a general rule of thumb, breweries enjoy a good Monday hiatus from serving up their cheer… therefore, most (but not all) are closed on Manic Mondays.
It is always a good idea to check the breweries websites as some close for special events. Many have live music and food trucks as pop-up fun as well. Surprisingly, most are very kid-friendly and (not surprisingly) most are dog friendly, too. ALL seem to be grownup friendly!
A few of our faves that deserve a shout-out:
Best Food – Good Word (Duluth)
Amazing morsels with or without a brewskie in hand.
Best (Beer) Flight – StillFire (Suwanee)
Great presentation and they make it easy to know what you’re tasting.
Best Outdoor Space – Slow Pour (Lawrenceville)
We can just taste the warmer weather, and you can’t beat live music on their awesome deck as you toast goodbye to Old Man Winter!
THE BREW LIST:
110 Technology Parkway, Suite 200, Peachtree Corners
Braselton Brewing Company
9859 Davis Street, Braselton
Good Word Brewing and Public House
3085 Main St NW, Duluth
Hope Springs Distillery
4839 Railroad Avenue, Lilburn
*So this one’s not technically a brewery…but we love their story, so we threw them in the mix anyway!
5019 West Broad Street M145, Sugar Hill
Slow Pour Brewing Company
407 N Clayton St, Lawrenceville
343 US-23, Suwanee
Tannery Row Ale House
554 West Main Street, Buford
(as in the first half of 2020…we are awaiting
with great anticipation!)
Kettle Rock Brewing
6025 Peachtree Pkwy, Suite #1, Peachtree Corners
Monkey Wrench Brewing
3425 Martin Farm Rd., Suwanee
Social Fox Brewing
20 Skin Alley, Norcross
NEAR GWINNETT(but not quite in)
High Card – Tucker
Left Nut – Gainesville
NoFo – Cumming
Six Bridges – Johns Creek
Tucker Brewing Co. – Tucker