Greg Kelly, a former Guinness executive, founds the Atlanta Brewing Company. The brewery, a converted old brick warehouse, was originally located at 1219 Williams Street. Pine-sided vats and cold tanks from England are purchased, and the beer is produced using an older traditional style of brewing. The large red malt mill, still used by the brewery today, was found sitting abandoned in a meadow in England. After being shipped to Atlanta and undergoing extensive refurbishing, the mill is put to work readying the grain for brewing. It is still in use today.
The name “Red Brick” is given to the brewery’s flagship beer. Atlanta Brewing Company produces 4,000 barrels in the first year of production. To maintain this initial demand, the brewery brews once or twice a day. Peachtree Pale Ale, Spring Brew, Summer Brew, Winter Brew, Golden Lager, and Kelly’s Light are added to the lineup.
ABC partners with a Belgian brewery to release a Belgian beer called “Malone’s”. The beer was produced in Belgium, pasteurized, and then shipped in a large tanker truck. Upon arriving in the United States via ship, the tanker is driven to the brewery, and the beer is pumped into a holding tank. This imported beer is then carbonated and bottled for distribution. Surprisingly, two out of three batches survive the trip in drinkable condition.
Atlanta Brewing Company’s most notable and lasting partnership with the Vortex Bar and Grill begins. The beer’s name and labeling features the Vortex’s iconic “Laughing Skull” logo. The original incarnation is a full-bodied bohemian pilsner, which is dry-hopped and lagered for sixty days before shipping.
Although successful, the future of the brewery seems uncertain when the Georgia Department of Transportation’s planned road expansion project dooms the brewery’s Williams street location.
Bob Budd is brought on by the brewery’s investors as a management consultant to help the company. Once on board, Budd helps negotiate a settlement with the Georgia DOT. In 2006, Greg Kelly leaves Atlanta Brewing Company and Bob steps in as president of the brewery. The remaining staff moves operations to a new location at 2323 Defoor Hills Road.
ABC releases the newest version of Laughing Skull, changing it from a bohemian pilsner to a well-balanced amber ale, while Red Brick Brown, Blonde, Pale Ale, and Porter are the four standard offerings at the brewery. Inspired by the success of their barrel aged 15th Anniversary Ale, they begin producing limited release beers under the Brick Mason series name in special four-packs.
Atlanta Brewing Company changes its public name to Red Brick Brewing Company. Brewery legend has it that the name for the original Red Brick Ale, and thus the new name for the company, originated from a historic speech. The Atlanta mayor supposedly gave the speech shortly after General Sherman torched the city in the Civil War. He stated that the city would “rise from the ashes like a phoenix” and be rebuilt “one red brick at a time.”
The brewery’s flagship IPA Hoplanta is introduced.
Garett Lockhart (Brewmaster) and Steve Anderson (Head Brewer)take over brewing operations and begin introducing new recipes and flavors. Award winning brews such as 20thAnniversary Imperial Stout, Beard Envy Barleywine, and Vanilla Gorilla are added to the Brick Mason series under their leadership.
The brewery introduces cans to its line up. The core and seasonal lineup is revised to include Hoplanta IPA, Casual Session IPA, Hibiscuwit Belgian-style wheat ale, and Divine Bovine milk stout brewed with chai spices. In July, Lockhart is promoted to president of the brewery.