When Elsewhere Brewing opens next month at the Beacon in Grant Park, owners Sam and Sara Kazmer hope the brewery and taproom do more for the community than simply serve beer. After traveling throughout Europe and hanging around in Belgian cafes, Bavarian beer gardens, and English pubs, the couple wanted to provide a space in Atlanta for people to linger and engage with one another over food and their shared love of beer.
But the plan to create a drinking hall and beer garden with a cafe vibe around a brewery shifted in March, as the pandemic began and social distancing and outdoor seating became paramount. The Kazmers had hoped to open in July. Between construction and permitting delays and equipment and supply shortages, the build-out for Elsewhere Brewing slowed to a frustrating crawl.
“Build-out during COVID has been very challenging. Supply chains for everything have slowed down significantly, and new supply shortages seem to be occurring every day,” Sam Kazmer tells Eater. “When factories started shutting down around the world and in the U.S., we started seeing 3+ month delays on all types of brewing equipment, construction material, etc.”
Following the months-long shutdowns of local and state government offices, the Kazmers finally submitted the brewery’s liquor license application in early August and hope to receive approval by the end of September. Kazmer says weeks of delays have all but drained the budget for building out the brewery, as the couple continues paying rent, payroll, and utilities with no revenue coming in to help cover those expenses.
“Since we are a start-up and have no record of generating revenue, we couldn’t access the PPP loans and have been using working capital we planned to reserve for post-opening,” says Kazmer. “It’s been difficult communicating these problems to local officials.”
Much like a CSA (community supported agriculture) helps support local farms, Elsewhere Brewing operates partially as a community supported brewery with CSB memberships. Memberships to the brewery offer people first dibs on beer releases and events, discounts, travel packages, and a monthly beer club with a choice between growlers or cans. It also provides a connection point for local beer advocates and connoisseurs.
Currently, funds from the membership program are being used to finish building the brewery’s large, dog-friendly patio, which now includes abundant seating, sun shades, and a serving window opening to the bar inside. The patio service window eliminates the need for people to enter the building to order beer and food. Once open next month, patrons of Elsewhere Brewing will be required to wear masks when not seated at a table or the bar.
“Sara and I both work as bartenders in Atlanta and have watched first hand how businesses are trying to navigate the uncharted territory,” Kazmer says. “We have approximately 80 seats available inside — bar seating, banquette, tables, window counter seating — and will have about 40 to 50 seats available on our patio.”
Elsewhere Brewing plans to open with 11 different beers on the menu, ranging from European classics, like a pilsner, Bavarian hefeweizen, and dark Czech lager, to West Coast ales, IPAs, and special release beers, including a peach saison, grape gose, and red velvet cake stout. The brewery will also be making and selling its line of hard seltzers, along with tonics, cocktails, and cold brew coffee.
Food at Elsewhere Brewing is also inspired by the couple’s travels, especially to Argentina. Executive chef Thomas Stewart worked with Patagonian chef Richard Oyarzun to create a menu centered around street foods and family-style dishes for the brewery. Stewart’s menu features a variety of empanadas stuffed with fillings such as trout and leek or mushroom and cheese, special weekly pasta, risotto, and milanese dishes, and grilled meats, including a 24-hour-brined chicken quarter, steak, and guava BBQ shrimp platter. Look for black beer tiramisu, flan, and vegan sorbets on the dessert menu.
Barring any further construction or liquor license delays, the Kazmers expect to open Elsewhere Brewing to the public around the first week of October.
“As we approach opening, there is now an aluminum can shortage occurring around the world. Needless to say, there have been significant delays due to material shortages,” says Kazmer. “In the end, it has just required a lot of patience and empathy — realizing that everyone is struggling to get through this.”
1039 Grant Street SE, Suite B34, Atlanta. elsewherebrewing.co.