NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Tennessee produces more than 200,000 barrels of craft beer a year, which is about one gallon of beer for every adult over the age of 21 in the state. That’s according to the most recent data from the Brewers Association.

Jessica Gonzales, marketing director (Courtesy of Southern Grist Brewing Company)
Jessica Gonzales, marketing director (Courtesy of Southern Grist Brewing Company)

“I’ve been working in the craft beer industry for eight years and enjoying craft brews for even longer than that,” said Jessica Gonzales, the marketing director at Southern Grist Brewing Company.

Gonzales has worked for the local craft brewery for four years.

“My love for craft beer can be credited to my family,” Gonzales continued, “We would get together for the holidays once a year, and it started with us buying variety packs of grocery store brands, and it evolved quickly to everyone bringing beer from their neck of the woods — a tradition we still enjoy!”

Southern Grist Brewing Company was launched by three friends who used to home brew beer.

Southern Grist Brewing Co. Owners
Founders: Kevin Antoon (L), Jamie Lee (M), Jared Welch (R) (Courtesy of Southern Grist Brewing Company)

They left the corporate business world and opened doors to the brewery on Douglas Avenue in East Nashville back in Feb. 2016. Since then, it has expanded to a second location, opening a taproom in The Nations on Centennial Boulevard.

The brewery continues to produce a variety of new beers each week.

“We’re known for pushing boundaries. We’re not afraid to really go for it when it comes to creativity and we’re always switching it up. Releasing 2-5 new beers a week, it’s likely that our draft menu will be different every time you visit,” said Gonzales.

Southern Grist Brewing Company
Courtesy of Southern Grist Brewing Company

As the craft beer industry continues to grow, breweries like Southern Grist are hoping to gain more customers as they participate in the Tennessee Ale Trail.

Tennessee Craft Brewers Guild has partnered with Tennessee Agriculture Department, and Farm to Tap to launch the free digital passport. The Guild said many of its members work with local farms for ingredients.

As a member of the Guild, Gonzales said this gives the company a chance to “show guests what we do best.”

“I think this is a great way to really get a taste of what Tennessee has to offer in terms of beer and to introduce people to breweries that they may not know are right in their backyard,” Gonzales said. 

As customers make stops along the trail that includes more than 60 breweries, they can earn points towards getting prizes like a T-shirt or hat commemorating their experience.

To get your passport for the Tennessee Ale Trail, go to this link for more information. No downloads or apps are required.

Most of those breweries can be found in Middle Tennessee.

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As for the Southern Grist Brewing Company, “We don’t let the grass grow under our feet. Next weekend (Feb. 5th) at our Nations taproom, we’re hosting our first ever chili cook-off featuring five local chefs and 10 amateur’s chefs.”

Southern Grist Brewing Company East Nashville
Courtesy of Southern Grist Brewing Company

Gonzales added they are also preparing for their 7th Anniversary Party happening May 6th, in which they invited about 100 different breweries from around the world to celebrate with them.