Christian Spears, who is launching Tennessee Brew Works with his longtime friend Garr Schwartz, said they’re big fans of those establishments and joke that they’re creating a new “brewers’ row” in downtown Nashville.
Schwartz has been an amateur brewer for quite a while. His buddy Spears was so impressed by the product that he started pressing his friend to turn his hobby into a business. “Finally he said, ‘I’ll do it if you will,’ ” Spears recalled, laughing.
The two are experienced finance guys — they met working at Lehman Brothers in New York several years ago (before the company’s collapse). Schwartz eventually moved back to his hometown, Nashville, and Spears took time off to travel and work with charities in Guatemala and India. Spears moved to Nashville a couple years ago to team up with his friend and launch Tennessee Brew Works. “We’re crazy,” Spears said with a laugh. “And holy crap, it seems to be working. The beer is that good.”
Working in his garage in Franklin, Schwartz has created 12 different brews, which Spears said will be winnowed to five or six for launch, all ales.
The team is getting ready to install a new commercial brewing system, which Spears describes as “cutting-edge” with “incredible efficiency.”
The space at 809 Ewing Ave. is large: 21,000 square feet, with 20-foot ceilings. Tennessee Brew Works’ emphasis will be on making brews for restaurants and bars, but Spears said they’re also carving out about 3,000 square feet for a taproom, which will operate with limited hours, 4 to 8 p.m. a few days a week.
The taproom will offer a small slate of cheese plates and snacks, but Spears said they plan to host restaurants for special dinners, along with food trucks. They’ll also fill growlers.Eventually, they hope to bottle their product for distribution in Nashville and around the state.
Spears said the team is aiming for a soft opening for the taproom around the end of April. You can follow TNBrew on Facebook for updates.
A version of this story ran in my Food Biz column in this week's print edition of The City Paper and online in the Nashville Post.