A Timeline of Craft Beer In Atlanta : Part I
If you’ve ever been to Atlanta, Georgia, you’ve probably noticed that the city’s favorite beverage is the world-famous Coca-Cola. Atlanta, the birthplace of the company, is even home to a 20-acre museum dedicated to the carbonated drink, decked out with a tasting room, 3D theater, and much more. But if you’re more of a beer fan than a soda drinker, don’t let that deter you from visiting the ATL. Is your drink of choice a creamy stout, a hoppy lager, or some other type of beer? Then Atlanta should definitely be on your list of places to explore.
Atlanta is steadily climbing to the top of lists of cities to visit for their beer scene. There is an abundance of craft breweries in Atlanta to choose from these days, but that hasn’t always been the case. In contrast to states like Wisconsin, New York, and Pennsylvania, home to some of the oldest breweries still operating in the country (Pabst Brewing Company, Schaefer Brewing Company, and Yuengling, respectively), Georgia’s oldest still-operating brewery didn’t open until 1993.
Though Atlanta may have been behind in beer production for a century, they’ve made up for lost time in the past couple of decades, and today Atlanta is an excellent place to brewery hop. In fact, the Atlanta metropolitan area currently has over 50 breweries to pick from! In this blog post, we’ll share about the first modern craft breweries to take off in the ATL, which are credited with setting the scene for craft beer in Atlanta. These two trailblazing breweries in Atlanta opened in the 1990s when there wasn’t an established craft beer scene in Atlanta to speak of. Read more about each brewery here, and keep your eyes out for part 2 of our craft beer in Atlanta timeline!
1993: Atlanta Brewing Company
Atlanta Brewing Company, founded in 1993, is the oldest brewery in Atlanta and has gone through many iterations in its 30-year history. They’ve expanded, moved locations, and even rebranded in 2010, changing their name to Red Brick Brewing Company in honor of the brick warehouse the brewery first got its start in, before ultimately changing back to their original name in 2018. Atlanta Brewing Company is currently going through another transformation, having closed their current taproom to relocate further into the city – stay tuned for news on their re-opening. Some of their most popular brews to try are the Divine Bovine, a chai-infused milk stout; the Hoplanta, an American-style IPA and their Imperial Stout.
1997: Sweetwater Brewing Company
Sweetwater was started in Atlanta by two college friends who had spent years working and studying in breweries in Colorado and California. After visiting Atlanta, they saw an opportunity to bring their West Coast brewing style to this southern city. After setting up shop in 1996 and making their first official sale in February the following year, the brewery took off.
Over the decades, Sweetwater continued to grow, even climbing to the list of top 50 breweries in the US in 2013. Though they brew dozens of types of beers today, their most popular remains one of the first beers they produced, the Sweetwater 420. This hoppy IPA, named for the date it was first brewed is “herbal, floral, [and] fresh” and a must-try when visiting their taproom in Atlanta.
For any beer lover visiting Atlanta, we recommend paying a visit to the two original craft breweries in the city, who paved the way for the Atlanta craft beer scene to thrive! Don’t have a designated driver and worried about getting to and from the breweries safely and efficiently? Get in touch today to book Roundabout Atlanta’s reliable private transportation services.