The wave of hoppy, sour, dark, bitter and fruity beer that’s swept across America in the past 20 years or so will hit Monroe this week.

Athens-based Southern Brewing Co. will open a taproom and small batch brewery at 123 N. Lumpkin St. in Monroe on Friday. It will be open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day going forward.

The taproom will have 20 beers on tap, a brewing facility, benches, couches, TVs and a couple old school arcade games.

Rick Goddard and Brian Roth opened the Athens location a little over four years, and it’s prospered since then. The Monroe opportunity came after the Monroe officials reached out to them.

“Monroe reached out to us and talked about the opportunity ...They wanted to bring a brewery here,” Roth said.

Monroe remade its alcohol ordinances in early 2018 to allow for microbreweries and open containers in downtown, among other things. Those laws paved the way for Southern Brewing Co. Monroe to happen.

“The leadership of the city has been proactive with changing the rules regarding breweries and taprooms...They’ve been fantastic to work with,” Goddard said.

Downtown Monroe gradually morphing into a destination was a factor as well.

“What they want to do as a city is really what we want to do as well,” Steven Brand, the company’s vice president of sales and marketing, said. “We want to bring the community together and teach them a little about beer.”

“It’s a new culture that brings the community together,” Dan Flynn, who will manage the operations of the taproom, said.

The craft beer scene can be dizzying at times for those who don’t drink beer or are used to Bud Light. The founders see part of their mission in Monroe, and elsewhere, is to educate people about good beer.

“We want this to be exactly the same experience we offer in Athens, which is hospitality,” Goddard said.

“We don’t judge people for not knowing about craft beer. We want to steer people to beer they like or didn’t know they liked,” he said.

Roth said he hopes to run classes about making beer in the future, and the Southern Brewing team will be starting to distill spirits in Monroe down the road.

Andrew Kenneson was a staff writer for The Walton Tribune from 2018-20.

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