AUGUSTA (WJBF) — Augusta’s 2nd craft brewery is almost ready to open.
Savannah River Brewing Company is located on 5th Street in downtown Augusta.
It’s right down the street from Augusta’s first craft brewery, Riverwatch Brewery.
With the expected growth from the cyber-related missions at Fort Gordon, the founders of Savannah River Brewing bought a warehouse with enough room available for expansion.
The brewery will also be Augusta’s first to sell bottles in stores.
The company is getting started on its first batch of beer.
“It will probably be an amber ale. Mark, the brew master, is going to decide which one, but we’re starting this weekend and as long as that first brew goes well, all next week, we are going to be brewing beer,” Founder Steve Ellison said.
Ellison says Savannah River Brewing will have 5 base beers. The amber ale, a wheat beer, an IPA, a pilsner and a brown ale.
“Our production will be based on how everyone in Augusta likes it,” Ellison said.
Ellison says he chose Augusta because of his daughter and son-in-law.
“Craft breweries are kind of fun places. And he (my son-in-law) was like, you know, Augusta doesn’t have a craft brewery. My daughter is in medical school here, so they live here,” Ellison said.
But it’s taken a couple of years to get the business ready.
Ellison says it was a challenge to restore an old warehouse into a clean and safe brewery.
They’re also working on a taproom and outdoor beer garden that will switch out special batches of beer for guests.
“We can’t sell beer from our brewery. We sell tours. So if we come up with a tour, we can give out free samples of the beer,” Ellison said.
Savannah River Brewing will also be bottling its beers and selling it in stores, including Walmart.
Ellison is hoping one day state law will change and give them more freedom with their business though.
“It would be great to be able to serve food here and also serve beer here as a brew pub sort of thing on that side,” Ellison said.
City leaders have recently moved forward with plans to allow small brew pubs in downtown Augusta.
Ellison says the idea would definitely help his business.
“People might come here just to do brewery tours. We would need to have more than what we have, but yeah, I’m not opposed to anything the city is doing,” Ellison said.
It takes about 4 weeks to brew beer, so Savannah River Brewing Company is expected to open in mid-February.
The brewery is trying to have kegs, bottles and its taproom all ready at the same time.
For more information on the brewery, check out their website here.