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Brewing Success: Anderby Brewing works through pandemic challenges to keep growing

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anderby brewing smelts
Photos from Anderby Brewing Facebook Page. Owners Preston and Michell Smelt.

The signs were promising for Peachtree Corners first brewery — Anderby Brewing.
The fledgling operation on Technology Parkway debuted in August of 2019, and the taproom was generating steady revenue. Growlers were heading out the door. A third-party operator provided some canning of their product for package sales, albeit at no resulting profit. Owners Preston and Michell Smelt projected that March of 2020 was to be their first break-even month. COVID-19 had other plans.

Pressures from the pandemic

The taproom closed and didn’t reopen until the Memorial Day weekend as Georgia shut down for a time. Restricted or shut-down food and drink establishments stopped ordering kegs.

Still able to offer to-go sales from their production facility, the couple proved the adage that necessity is the mother of invention. They found a supply of bottles and cranked up equipment that Preston had found at an auction. Some monotonous, not-much-fun work ensued.

“There we were in the back with a counter pressure bottler and it would take us literally all day to do two or three kegs of beer,” said Michell. “No matter how tedious, that’s what we did — and actually, for a while, it was working out pretty well. That’s when we started talking about having a canning line.”

Sales of to-go bottled beer, leftover canned product from a prior run and a $26,000 CARES Act grant got them through to Memorial Day.

Kegs being cleaned for the next round of beer.

Profits in the can

What the couple talked about in those uncertain shutdown days is now a reality — a newly-arrived $50,000 canning and labeling setup. The long-awaited equipment ordered in March showed up at the end of October. It operates at nowhere near the dizzying pace of larger operations that can turn out 100 finished cans of suds a minute, but it does produce four or five cans in 60 seconds time, about two barrels per hour. They are staking a path to profitability on it.

And they say the timing was providential. The manufacturer of the equipment rolled out the smaller-scale model in February of this year; that cost just half to less-than-half the price that a canning line would normally run for smaller startups.

It proved both a blessing and a curse. It gave them the ability to can beer at an affordable price, but so many smaller brewers ordered the smaller model that a months-long backup resulted.

But now they say, “We’re sending a lot of packaged beer out the door and that’s making a huge difference for us.” The 16-ounce four-packs are headed to destinations, including high-profile chain Total Wine, with which they’ve struck a solid partnership deal.

Improved technology means improved taste

Preston said the switch to canning makes sense from any number of standpoints. As he explained, “In the craft beer industry, cans were always looked down on for the longest time because the older canning technology wasn’t great. A lot of people would pick up subtle metallic tastes in the beer, especially with craft beer, which is a little more sensitive because we don’t pasteurize and most of us don’t filter.”

canning machine anderby brewing
Anderby’s very own Wild Goose Filling canning line.

The canning companies have improved their technology and a lot of the old issues have gone by the wayside, he said. On the purely economic side of the equation, Preston said that for what it would cost them to buy 6,000 cans, they might only get 2,000 bottles — a significant price point difference.

The co-owners said they have 19 beers on tap, and already eight or nine of them have been pumped into cans with all to follow eventually. The canning approach is part of an industrywide trend, they explained.

Growing the brand

As to what consumers browsing beer coolers can expect to find in those Anderby-labeled cans, well, that’s undergoing an evolution.

“When we first started, I was really trying to dabble in a number of different styles, trying to figure out what our niche should be,” said Preston. After gauging the marketplace and working with a consultant, they’ve narrowed their focus to three areas: hazy IPAs, heavy imperial stouts and fruity sours.

Anderby Stout

He said those three varieties account for 60% to 70% of craft beer sales nationally, and they also do well from a package sales standpoint. Their beer list will be changing to reflect that emphasis in the coming weeks.

The Smelts said they decided on only rotating offerings, an approach that some other craft brewers eschew because “the key thing for offering core beers is you have to make a lot of them, and we can’t.” Preston said the core approach doesn’t work without a heavy restaurant presence.

The ever-changing aspect of their offerings should appeal to those venturing into their taproom with the notion that repeat customers who see an unchanging beer list will eventually quit showing up, according to Preston. The couple added that on occasion, however, what has been a signature beer may well make a comeback, like their popular “Get off My Lawn” IPA.

Future plans

Anderby has the capacity to brew 2,500 barrels a year, and they’re now at a rate of under a thousand. So far, they’ve not hiked production, but they anticipate increased demand that will boost them to that level — with the resulting distribution cash flow bringing them into the black.

“Once we get maxed out and can’t really do any more on our current system, then we’ll start to talk about expansion,” said Preston. “We have some penciled-in plans on what the next round would look like.”

They said a bigger footprint would include additional fermentation tanks, more staff and consideration of a higher-volume canning line. One thing it would not include is a relocation. The co-owners said they could quadruple their current production capacity without having to move.

“That was one of the benefits of moving into this building — to have the room — because the last thing we wanted to do was get into a spot, grow and then have to find more space,” said Michell. “Here [in a large facility] we can grow and not have to find more space in a couple of years.”

Whatever shape future plans might take, they credit the City of Peachtree Corners with helping to make the setting-up-shop process in their current location and configuration a positive experience by facilitating necessary changes in the city zoning code to allow for operation of a production brewery.

From Anderby Brewing Instagram

“Other nearby cities we talked to seemed encouraging, but then they didn’t actually do anything, “Preston reported.

As to what niche they may grow into in metro Atlanta, he said, “If we get to the point where we are the destination brewer for someone coming into the Northeast OTP area, we’ll be happy.”

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Peachtree Corners Businesses Encouraged to Join Security Camera Registration

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Chris Lindenau, Fusus

After spending years with the U.S. military and companies that develop safety systems, Chris Lindenau wanted to offer that same level of security to average citizens.

“I have been leading and serving a team of dedicated, brilliant professionals as we help communities, directors of security for businesses and public safety leaders establish interoperability between community and public safety camera, AI and alert assets at an unprecedented scale,” Lindenau, CEO of Fusus, said.

He addressed an audience gathered on September 28 at the Peachtree Corners Business Association Business After Hours Speaker Series at the Hilton Atlanta Northeast.

The technology Lindenau’s company has created, the fususONE ecosystem of software and hardware solutions, is the foundational platform for the world’s real-time operations centers. It has helped hundreds of cities and businesses establish a unified security footprint unrestrained by proprietary technology limitations, according to the company’s literature.

In order to make it work at its optimal capacity, however, it needs the community — especially business owners — to join in.

“As I understand from our friends at GCPD [Gwinnett County Police Department], you’ve got a success story recently utilizing the system to catch a homicide suspect — I think it was within 45 minutes from the time of the incident,” Lindenau said. “This isn’t something that just exists here in our backyard, it exists all over the country.”

He encouraged everyone in attendance to sign up for Connect Peachtree Corners, a camera registration for businesses and homes. Right now, there are only 247 cameras registered within the Peachtree Corners city limits. Without interconnectivity, crimes that could have been solved in minutes may end up taking days or months — or may never be solved.

“That lack of information impacts the timeliness of response. It’s not just about apprehending the suspects, it’s also about bringing closure to families, because they are out on a limb until these people are apprehended,” Lindenau said.

For more information, visit connectpeachtreecorners.org.

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DW1 Unveils New Peachtree Corners Headquarters and Brand Identity

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DW1, formerly known as Discount Waste, Inc., has now settled in its office in Technology Park. As Peachtree Corners sees a surge of development, DW1’s move and rebranding stand out.

Situated at 250 Scientific Drive NW, the 45,000-square-foot building has 150 private offices and seven conference rooms. It also has an advanced training room and a “Town Center” designed for company lunches.

Additionally, the space doubles as an art collection that adds character to the workspace.

This move brings together their previous locations at Engineering Drive and Triangle Parkway. It consolidates over 100 employees who have been dispersed since 2019.

The inauguration event took place on September 28, 2023, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Vice Mayor Weare Gratwick, City Councilwoman Lorri Christopher, Southwest Gwinnett Chamber (SWGC) Chairman Bill Diehl and Executive Director Beth Coffey attended the event.

Board members Margie Asef, Larry Benator and Patty Thumann were also present.

Since its start in 1999, Discount Waste, Inc., now transitioning to DW1, has been a provider of waste removal and job site solutions.

Serving a wide range of clients, from general contractors and retailers to commercial establishments, the company has always emphasized strong client relationships and service.

Outside of the business realm, CEO Ed Foye‘s commitment to societal change is evident with All Children, Inc. This initiative focuses on delivering essential resources, such as nutrition, education and shelter, to children with disabilities in developing countries.

To know more about this effort, visit AllChildren.org.

A representative from DW1 shared, “We were thrilled to welcome our employees and their families to the new location on September 28. To learn more about our company’s next chapter, please visit DW1.com.”

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New Retail Concepts Join Merchandise Collection at The Forum Peachtree Corners

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As North American Properties (NAP) and Nuveen Real Estate (Nuveen) transform The Forum Peachtree Corners into a mixed-use development, several new businesses are joining the merchandise mix. 

National retailers that signed long-term leases include Lovesac, Petfolk and Stretchlab. Temporary license agreements were reached with Auburn Candle Company, The Baby Nook and Girl Tribe Co.

Meet the retailers

Lovesac – This company designs, manufactures and sells unique furniture that’s guaranteed for life. It offers modular couches called Sactionals, foam beanbag chairs called Sacs and associated home décor accessories, including home audio systems.

Upon opening next to Chico’s in spring 2024, Lovesac at The Forum will be the ninth location in Georgia and fourth in NAP’s portfolio. 

Petfolk – Founded by vets with decades of experience in clinical practice, Petfolk is an animal hospital and pet care center built with pets and their owners in mind. 

Veterinary services include exams, vaccinations, urgent care, nutrition, diagnostic testing, digital radiology and more. 

The Forum location opens this October by Chipotle, marking the brand’s second brick-and-mortar in metro Atlanta.

Stretchlab – Recognized for its customized, assisted-stretch sessions, Stretchlab is a wellness concept specializing in one-on-one routines led by nationally accredited flexologists. 

Using a proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) approach, paired with dynamic and static stretching, the team is able to identify tightness and imbalances in the body. They then build a custom routine for each client to develop a wider range of motion and flexibility. 

Stretchlab opens next to Club Pilates at The Forum this winter.

Auburn Candle Company – Established in 2020 and based out of Auburn, Alabama, Auburn Candle Company hand-crafts signature candles and fragrances, free from additives and dyes.

In addition to shopping for pre-poured candles as well as other bath, body and home goods, candle lovers can develop their own creations at the in-store pour bar. 

Its year-long pop-up at The Forum, opening in October, will be the company’s first venture in Georgia.  

The Baby Nook – A haven for anyone seeking baby essentials and gifts, The Baby Nook will feature a select collection of baby items that combine functionality, safety and aesthetic appeal. 

The year-long pop-up will open in October next to Soft Surroundings.

Girl Tribe Co. – NAP is expanding its existing relationship with Charlotte-based Girl Tribe Co. to bring a temporary store to The Forum from October 6 through December 31. 

Created by childhood best friends and co-founders Sarah Baucom and Carrie Barker, the brand offers a collection of clothing, graphic tees, accessories and lifestyle products.

A combination of proprietary products and items made by local female entrepreneurs will be available for purchase in Suite 505, next to HomeGoods. Girl Tribe Co. also plans to host a series of events, workshops and networking sessions during its stay at The Forum.

The Forum’s merchandise mix continues to grow

These forthcoming brands join KeenaBelaGifts We All Want and Go! Calendars, Toys, and Games as the latest additions to The Forum’s tenant collection. 

KeenaBela, an Atlanta-based, eco-friendly sleep, lounge and resort-wear brand, officially opened its year-long pop-up at The Forum last month. 

Additionally, specialty boutiques Gifts We All Want and Go! Calendars, Toys, and Games, have once again returned for the holiday season.

“We have seen a tremendous amount of interest from small, local business owners looking to grow their brands in a low-risk, incubator-style environment,” said Emily Narchus, director of ancillary revenue at NAP. 

“As our leasing and development teams continue moving forward on The Forum’s renaissance, we are excited to play a part in upgrading the center’s retail makeup.”

NAP is nearing completion on the north end plaza and anticipates an early fall delivery of the 1,700-square-foot greenspace. This is the first, and smaller, of two community-driven spaces being adding to the property as part of its overall redevelopment. 

Along with the ongoing retail improvements, renovations to the office lobby in building 5185, anchored by Trader Joe’s, are now complete. 

The Forum has partnered with the Peachtree Corners Photography Club to display and sell winning pieces from its first juried exhibition in the revamped entrance.

To stay up to date on the latest property news and happenings, follow The Forum on FacebookTwitter and Instagram or visit theforumpeachtree.com.

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