#126 – Jackalope Brewing Company in Nashville, TN

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(1) OUR EXPERIENCE

As we neared the end of our fourth month on the road, we made the trek from Louisville, KY down to Nashville, TN and met with the owners and staff of Jackalope Brewing Company on a hot Tuesday afternoon. We spent some time talking to them about their business, indulged in some of their brews including Thunder Ann American Pale Ale fresh off the canning line, and then they let us have some of the pizza they had ordered! Jackalope was the first all-female owned brewery in Tennessee and Robyn Virball & Bailey Spaulding have done some amazing things with their business, with the help of Steve Wright who was brought on as a third owner. This brewery was also the first one to use cans in Nashville, comes out with new rotators every 6 weeks or so, holds multiple events throughout the year (including an anniversary celebration and a Bruce Springsteen-focused festival), and also shares their building with a coffee shop. Under the slogan ‘Drink Legendary’ they have been able to brew a plethora of unique beer options for you to enjoy, so be sure to drop in and say hi when you’re in town checking out the capital of Tennessee – America at its best.

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(2) VITAL INFORMATION

Date of our visit: Tuesday, 4/29/14
Open since: 2011
Approx. Barrel (bbl) Output 2013: 1,800 bbl
Projected bbl Output 2014: 2,700 – 3,200 bbl
Brewhouse size: 15 bbl
Owner(s): Bailey Spaulding, Robyn Virball, Steve Wright
Brew master: Bailey Spaulding
Packaging: Kegs/ Cans/ 22oz bottles
Distribution: TN
Slogan: Drink Legendary

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Other things we learned:

* Jackalope was the first all-female owned brewery in TN
* 20% of the proceeds from Lovebird go to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of TN
* Focus on unique, yet drinkable & balanced, beers
* Share space with ZolliKoffee
* Have three 60 bbl fermenters and four 15 bbl fermenters
* Use the 60bbl fermenters for year-rounds; use the 15 bbl fermenters for the rotators
* Have been canning with a mobile canning unit since December 2013; first brewery in Nashville to can; canning Thunder Ann during our visit
* Use blank cans with sleeves to can some of the rotators
* Use local ingredients when they can; growing hops about 3 miles away
* At their most recent anniversary celebration, they had live bands, 3 unique ‘freaky wheat’ beers, barrel-aged beers, and more
* In the beginning of October, they will be having Spruce Fest where they release the beer Spruce Beersteen and have local bands play covers of Bruce Springsteen

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(3) BEERS WE TASTED DURING OUR VISIT

* Thunder Ann – fresh off the canning line!
* Bearwalker Maple Brown
* Lovebird
* Leghorn Rye IPA
* Complete listing of beers

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What we learned about their beer during our visit:

* Staple beers: Thunder Ann, Bearwalker, Rompo and Leghorn
* Come out with around 10 rotators a year that come out about every 6 weeks
* Also have permanent seasonals, including a Gose and a Mocha Stout
* There is a hand-bottled version of the Tannakin Mocha Stout that is aged on bacon in bourbon barrels
* Just made their first lager – 7 Cities Pilsner
* Bearwalker Maple Brown is there most popular beer and uses pure maple syrup
* Deer Antler Series includes anything that is barrel-aged
* Most of the beers are named after legends; i.e. Sally Ann Thunder Ann Whirlwind was Davy Crockett’s wife
* Brewed a farmhouse style saison with beets called Number One Frog – story behind name

(4) EXPANSION PLANS

* Get more 60 bbl fermenters/ brite tanks

(5) BACKGROUND OF PEOPLE WE SPOKE TO

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[Haggis, Steve, Robyn, Bailey, Michael]

Name: Robyn Virball
Title: President
Been with company since: Inception
Previous Occupation(s): Sales & Marketing
Favorite Superhero: Batman

Name: Bailey Spaulding
Title: CEO/ Brew master
Been with company since: Inception
Previous Brewing Experience: Home brewer
Previous Occupation(s): Vanderbilt Law school
Favorite Superhero: Wonder Woman

Name: Steve Wright
Title: Head Brewer/ Chief Operating Officer
Been with company since: 2010
Previous Brewing Experience: 4 years brewing experience
Previous Occupation(s): College baseball coach at the US Merchant Marine Academy and Rhodes College
Favorite Superhero: Superman

(6) MORE LINKS ABOUT BREWERY

* Main website
* Jackalope Blog
* The Lost Beers – Jackalope Brewing Company

(7) You can find the rest of our photos here

Author: Michael Roberts

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