This story originally appeared in the September 2015 edition of Georgia's Cities.
A A A rendering of the completed Lake Country Brewery.
A new brewery scheduled to open near downtown Greensboro next spring promises to give the city a tourism boost. After hearing someone suggest that the city of Greensboro would be a prime location for a craft brewery, father and son project development team John and Nathan McGarity of McDonough-based McGarity Realty decided to turn a 6,000 square foot former mill they own near downtown Greensboro into a craft brewery. Lake Country Brewing Company will include retail production using the Cask industries canning line and a tasting room for tours. A 5,000 square foot event space will include an 18 foot high, floor to ceiling, glass curtain wall that will open to an outdoor patio.
City officials think the project is a great idea.
“The opportunities that are presented with Lake Country Brewing are exciting for our downtown,” said Cail Hammons, Community Development director for Greensboro. “Lake Country Brewing creates a fun, hip new business in our downtown with two new jobs. The project provides for the rehabilitation of a blighted building that is quite literally falling down. And on top of all of that, this historic structure’s original use as a cola bottling facility not only creates a destination for visitors to downtown, it accentuates Greensboro’s unique sense of place in doing so.”
Bringing his craft brewing expertise and experience to the table is Taylor Lamm, who will be the owner/operator and master brewer of Lake Country. In addition to having degrees in Political Science and Sociology from the University of Georgia, Lamm is a graduate of the University of California Davis Brewing Basics course, Siebel Institute of Technology in Chicago and Doemens Academy in Munich. He also earned a World Brewing Academy International Diploma in the Brewing Technology Program.
“In addition to the interest in a new Georgia craft beer, we believe that people are responding to the ideas of small communities attracting innovative new businesses, the preservation and repurposing of an old structure and championing a young man making his hobby and dream a business reality,” said Leslie Balog, media coordinator for Lake Country.
Greensboro was awarded a $500,000 Redevelopment Fund Grant from the Georgia Department of Community Affairs that was made available as a low-interest loan from the Greensboro Downtown Development Authority to Lake Country Brewing. The city plans to further support the project with streetscape improvements that will provide a pedestrian connection from the new brewery to the downtown commercial district.
“Our Main Street Program will work to promote Lake Country Brewing as part of the Downtown Greensboro product that is available for tourists and residents,” Hammons explained. “We are excited that the brewery plans to offer tastings and tours. We expect this to be very well received, particularly from a younger demographic that we see taking increasing interest in our downtown.”
Greensboro has successfully used the $500,000 Redevelopment Fund financing to leverage an additional $1.6 million in private investment in its downtown through the Lake Country Brewing project.
“We expect the brewery development to spur increased investment in the surrounding areas,” Hammons said. “Our vision is that Lake Country Brewing will anchor a new commercial node for the city, linking residential development around our old cotton mill village with the successful businesses in our downtown area.”
Additional features of the brewery will be a focus on using local resources.
“Lake Country is exploring using a nearby source of water that flows from the Blue Ridge and Piedmont crystalline aquifer,” Balog explained. “Because of the depth of the bedrock, the supply is protected from ground level impurities. High quality water equals amazing beer. The owner of our brewery neighbor, Farmers Feed and Seed, is also in the business of Black Angus cattle. The spent grain from our production will be fed to his herd. The beef comes back to the local market—farm to table, to frosty glass of Lake Country Brewing Company beer.