Savannah River Brewing Company opens to public

Augusta has a new place to view and taste its homemade brew.

 

After months of work and weeks of social media teases, Savannah River Brewing Company will open its doors to the public for the first time Saturday at 1 p.m.

The craft brewery at 813 5th St., owned by brothers Steve and Dave Ellison and run by master brewer Mark Walters, is the second Augusta-based brewery to open during the past year. Riverwatch Brewery, also located on 5th Street, began selling beer last spring.

Steve Ellison, a home brewer for many years in Monroe, Ga., thought up the idea for a local brewery that could take his creations to the masses. He called on his brother, who has been affiliated with several businesses in the Augusta area, and the idea to commercially brew beer in Augusta for the first time since prohibition was set into motion.

“(Dave) began running numbers and doing flow sheets and doing whatever business people do, and he said, ‘Yeah, I think this could work,” Steve said.

The pair found a location for the brewery near downtown and began working on renovating the facility to the point where the facility, which handles all brewing and bottling, was presentable to the public.

Under current Georgia law, brewers can only sell beer to customers who pay for a facility tour. But a bill working its way through the General Assembly would eliminate the tour-and-taste requirement and give breweries the ability to sell limited amounts direct to the public.

Local ordinances, however, restrict brewers and distilleries to industrial areas.

Despite the regulatory challenges, the brothers believe their Augusta-centric brand – whose beers include Dynamite Brown Ale, Westobou Amber Ale and No Jacket Required Pilsner – will find regional success. Steve said Savannah River Brewery will also do small production batches on occasion that, if successful, will be bottled for sale.

In addition to local bars and restaurants, customers will also be able to find Savannah River Brewing’s craft beers in various grocery stores throughout the area, including Kroger and Publix.

The Ellisons said the Garden City seemed like the perfect place to turn their passion for brewing into a business, given the city’s national name recognition and its growth potential from new industries such as Fort Gordon’s growing cyber defense missions.

“It is a large city and craft breweries are popping up everywhere,” said Steve Ellison, noting the numerous craft breweries that have popped up in Atlanta, Athens and Savannah. “We felt like there was a need here.”

Reach Amanda King at (706) 829-2278 or amanda@buzzon.biz.

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