Jackalope's Gettin' a Brand New Ranch...On Saturday, August 25th!
One of the pioneers in what has quickly become the booming craft brewing scene here in Nashville, Jackalope Brewing Company opened their doors back in May of 2011 and now, seven years later, they’re readying themselves to cut the ribbon on their brand spankin’ new second space. “It’s going to be Jackalope 2.0 to a certain extent because it’s everything we didn’t know we wanted in a brewery when we opened seven years ago,” said founder and CEO Bailey Spaulding.
Jackalope’s new taproom, lovingly referred to by the staff as The Ranch (as opposed to the OG spot, which has been dubbed The Den) is located in the middle of Wedgewood Houston, right across the street from Bastion and Hemingway’s Bar & Hideaway. The big gray warehouse at 429 Houston Street is larger than their current setup, with a far more expansive outdoor area, an event space that can accommodate up to 175 standing, an office that can accommodate more than just one human body sitting, and most importantly: bigger, better, more badass machines for making beer.
The original Jackalope taproom and production facility will still remain — be still my heart — but the opportunity for small batches, sour beers, and overall education and creativity in brewing will become more prevalent in Jackalope’s portfolio. “We’ll definitely be keeping our core beers and our seasonal beers stocked,” said Kristen Westerbeck, Jackalope’s Brand Coordinator. “But now we’ll finally get the time to experiment with new flavors. We’re also going to have fun filling up the draught board so we can offer beers that are only available at The Ranch or The Den. It’ll be really great for us to get back to why we got into this in the first place.”
Not to mention increased production for the products they already make and sell a lot of.
Currently, Jackalope is at max. production. capacity. They are brewing as much beer as humanly (and machine-ly) possible so they can fulfill their accounts and also have a delectable selection to offer in their taproom. But with the new and improved production setup going in at The Ranch, they’ll have the ability to produce double the amount of beer in half the amount of time. So not only does the new space mean more opportunity for fans to go to Jackalope, but it also means there will be more opportunity for Jackalope to go to its fans — and even better, to make new fans out of more people!
Unlike craft beer hubs such as Colorado and California, Nashville hasn’t always been so hot on the scene in the realm of delicious suds — until recently. Blackstone Brewing Company was one of the first (if not the very first) to make delicious, local craft beer in Nashville as we know it today. What started in the 90’s as a brew-pub on West End Ave has since turned into a favorite local label, available in stores across the city. Around 10 years after them came Yazoo. Yazoo Brewing Company opened in Nashville in 2003 to rave reviews, “but after them it was crickets...tumbleweeds,” as Bailey put it. Yazoo was the last real microbrewery to open in Nashville until Jackalope set up shop eight years later. Since then however, the market has exploded. “In the seven years we’ve been open, probably something like 20 breweries have opened in this city,” said Bailey.
But unlike some of the competition that is beginning to permeate Nashville’s restaurant industry, the beer scene here remains pretty friendly. “Beer is very much a community thing and people in the craft beer community embrace that,” said Brent LaFever, one of Jackalope’s Sales Coordinators. “Because sure, while there is a certain level of competition, at the end of the day we all love beer. It’s something we can talk about and connect about because we have this passion for it. [So the growth here] is kind of like a rising tide that’s lifting up all of the ships.” And the ships are rising...fast.
“We definitely grew faster — probably twice as fast, honestly — than we thought we would,” Bailey confessed. “And that’s been great! I don’t think that eight years ago anybody knew what Nashville was about to do. So a lot of our growth has been because of Nashville’s growth; we feel really lucky.”
As Nashville’s beer industry has been expanding, so too have the operations to which Jackalope is committed. Of course their goal is to always make great beer, but Jackalope also places major value on investing back into their community and being good stewards of that community. In the last seven years, they have partnered with more than 80 nonprofit organizations in the Nashville area, and also have a nonprofit pairing program in the taproom at The Den, which will be extending over to The Ranch. “It gives 20% of sales from our seasonal beer to a local nonprofit,” Kristen explained. “The community gives to us, so we’ve gotta give back to the community.”
And that’s not all they’re doing for the community. Jackalope’s green initiatives help to reduce waste and promote recycling. Ever wonder why their beers are never bottled? “It’s really challenging to recycle glass in Davidson County,” Kristen said. “So we thought we would do something different and can our beer. Thunder Ann was actually the first canned beer from a local brewery here in Nashville.” In conjunction with their cans, Jackalope plans to recycle their water, too. “The efficiency portion of our new brewhouse means we’ll be able to reuse a lot of water and not just dump it, like we were before,” explained Brent. “With our current system, when you’re done cleaning the tank the water just goes down the drain. But there are a lot of other ways you can use that water prior to dumping it,” Kristin finished. “We’re really trying to make less of an impact with waste and more of an impact with the beer and how far it reaches. The Ranch is going to allow us all of those opportunities!”
Jackalope’s brand new Ranch will officially open their doors on Saturday, August 25th with a Grand Opening celebration from 12-10pm. The Grand Opening will feature sixteen beers on tap, including classic fan favorites and some brand new recipes.
Brent summarized everything very appropriately, with a musical metaphor to boot: “It’s like this joint [The Den] was our first record. And then we started producing other stuff, but it was only for the label, you know? What they wanted. But now we’re getting back to our roots and we’re getting to write the songs we want to write [at The Ranch]. We’re really excited about that.”
Want a sneak peek of The Ranch? Check out our photos below:
Jackalope Team Photo (top) by Andrea Behrends; Preview photos (slideshow) by Kevin Sicc.