ROSWELL, Ga. — The craft brew industry had little to no foothold in the North Atlanta market 20 years ago, and now, it’s become a burgeoning business.
Roswell alone is now home to three breweries: Gate City Brewing Company, From the Earth Brewing Company and Variant Brewing Company.
Gate City Brewing Company Founder Pat Rains and Variant Brewing Company Business Office Manager Michael Curling attended the Sept. 26 Roswell Rotary Club meeting at Roswell Area Park to speak about their industry.
The national economic impact of the craft brew industry last year, according to Rains, was $79.1 billion, including $5 billion in direct wages and benefits.
“This industry is burgeoning here, and it’s doing that and growing across the country,” he said. “The economic impact of all the breweries is pretty staggering.”
And the impact is also felt by Roswell’s tourism industry, Rains added.
Both his and Curling’s breweries encourage visitors to stop, shop and visit other places within the Historic District.
“It’s a trickle-down effect,” Rains said.
Rains, a native of Portland, Ore., was inspired to help found Gate City Brewing Company when he moved into Roswell and was unable to find craft beers similar to the ones he enjoyed in the Northwest. So, he decided to try his hand at making his own.
Curling and the founders of Variant City Brewing had similar experiences. Curling said he grew up in Roswell and is a long-time resident, and he could not have imagined opening the company anywhere other than Roswell.
Unlike other industries, Rains said, the craft beer industry tends to be collaborative and, for whatever reason, philanthropic.
“One of the most unique things about this industry is the collaboration and how friendly everybody is,” Rains said. “I had heard about it, but until I got into the industry, it was something I couldn’t really explain to somebody coming from a business background… When you’re not competing, it makes it easy to have a brewery and do good things.”
Curling said the breweries will often share ingredients and tips and, most recently, host walking tours to promote business in both companies.
Both breweries are also frequently involved with local nonprofits and allow these groups to host meetings and special events within their space.
“These guys both have it in their DNA to serve the community through their breweries,” said Roswell Rotary Club President Gordon Owens.
Both companies were attracted to Roswell because of its community, and they wanted to continue the legacy by giving back, Curling said.
“We want to be a part of the community,” he said. “It’s always been a big part of what we do… The community supports us, and we want to support the community.”
Most recently, Gate City Brewing Company has partnered with End Human Trafficking Now to release the Freedom Fighter IPA to raise funds and awareness about human trafficking.