New Brewery Will Allow for Expansion of Fast Growing Company, Creation of Jobs
Creature Comforts Brewing Company has identified the Southern Mill property just off North Chase Street as the site for a second and much larger brewery and office facility which would allow the brewery to remain in Athens. The terms of the agreement were approved by the Athens-Clarke County Mayor and Commission at a special called meeting tonight.
Demand for the company’s products has grown to the point that the downtown location cannot keep pace. The existing Creature Comforts brewery and tasting room on West Hancock Avenue, which opened in 2014, will remain in operation.
“When we opened Creature Comforts, one of our six guiding principles was community, and we are extremely excited to have an opportunity to stay and grow our business here in Athens, a city we love. This part of Athens is becoming a creative hub and we look forward to being a part of its growth for many years to come,” said Creature Comforts CEO Chris Herron. “We are grateful for the cooperation and assistance of the Athens-Clarke County government on this project. We look forward to building another brewery this community will be proud of.”
The cotton mill opened in 1900 but has not been operational since the late 1990s.The property is owned by Southern Mill Lofts LLC. Another section is being developed as residential and commercial property separate from the Creature Comforts project. The Athens-Clarke Heritage Foundation holds a façade easement on the property which requires adherence to certain federal preservation standards. Herron credited David S. Dwyer of Landmark Properties with managing the real estate process for Creature Comforts.
“This is exciting news for the Athens-Clarke County economy,” said Ryan Moore, director of the Office of Economic Development for Athens-Clarke County. “We are taking an innovative approach to supporting an existing industry that has quickly become part of the fabric of Athens.”
Moore estimates that the project will create at least 25 new fulltime jobs in the Athens market over five years. Herron projects an $8 million minimum investment in the new brewery over that same time span, with construction likely starting in the spring of this year. The new brewery is expected to be open by the fall of 2017, with significant production increases beginning in 2018.
“We love these old buildings and chose this one specifically for its history and presence,” said Herron. “We will make every effort to preserve the structure and materials on the site, and just as we did at Snow Tire, we will honor the history of the site.”
ABOUT CREATURE COMFORTS BREWING COMPANY: Creature Comforts is an Athens, Ga.-based brewery offering finely balanced artisanal beers. Since opening its doors in April 2014, Creature Comforts has made an imprint in the craft beer community with its award-winning, year-round and special release beers. To learn more about Creature Comforts, visit us online at www.creaturecomfortsbeer.com.