New Craft Brewery Calls Savannah Home - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

New Craft Brewery Calls Savannah Home

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With the craft brew festival and Moon River, Savannah is quickly becoming a craft beer town.

And statistics show the rest of the country is right on point with the trend.

According to the Brewers Association, craft brewers currently provide an estimated 108,440 jobs in the U.S., including serving staff in brew pubs.

More than 400 breweries have opened in 2013 alone.

Craft brewers sold an estimated 14 million barrels of beer in 2012 -- up from just 11 million in 2011.

Craft brewer retail dollar value in 2012 was an estimated $10.2 billion, up from $8.7 billion in 2011.

Good news for all you beer lovers out there, you will soon be able to enjoy more craft beer, made right here in our area. The bonus, it will also give a boost to our local economy.

It's called Southbound Brewing Company and what makes it so special, is that it's the only facility of its kind here in Savannah.

It's been nearly two and a half years in the making, and today we got an exclusive looking into their first week brewing beer that you will soon be able to enjoy.

"So right now we just mashed in, it's the first step of the brewing process."

It's a proud day for Southbound co-founder Smith Mathews and Carly Wiggins.

Mathews says years of work, dedication and dreaming all comes down to this.

"Alex [our assistant brewer] is cleaning our fermentation tank and he's prepping it for our first batch of IPA. It's the first batch to ever run through this system."

But it's not been an easy road. Micro breweries exist all over the state of Georgia, but because Southbound is the first of its kind in Savannah, the laws were unclear and city leaders needed some convincing.

"When we first came in and said we were going to open a brewery, and this is a production facility, everyone thought it was going to be a brew pub or a bar," explains Wiggins.

"But you can see it's clearly neither of those."

Southbound is for manufacturing only and they've got the space to so some serious beer brewing. A lot of thought went in to the brews. Wiggins says they will start with three, but the sky is the limit for fun creations.

"We just want to create something that is unique and will challenge your taste buds. I think smith is a very talented brewer. We want to do specialty beers, and one-offs. They will truly be one-of-a-kind."

To give you an idea of what Southbound is capable of brewing, let's start with a pint glass. Each one can hold about 16 ounces. Each keg holds 124 pints.

A fermentation tank and produce 120 kegs, and they have five of them.

Mathews hand picked all of the brewing equipment. It's top of the line and fully automated.

"It's a 30 barrel brew house, with 60 barrel fermentors. So with our capacity right now, we should be able to do about six thousand barrels a year."

Now that the ground work has been laid, Wiggins and Mathews say more breweries will eventually come. So can they all get along? Wiggins says the answer is yes—as long as they make good beer.

"The rising tide lifts all boats, and if we all work together to make more people go away from those big beers--your Miller Lights, your Budweisers-- and try to challenge your taste buds and try something different."

Talk about a dream job. As of now, Southbound is not hiring, but I'm told that will eventually come once they get settled. The city is working on a new tasting ordinance, and if that were to pass, Southbound would open for educational tours and tastings, then needing more staff.

If you would like to learn more about Southbound and when the beer will be ready, visit their website at http://southboundbrewingco.com/southbound/

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