JOHNS CREEK, Ga. — This year, Johns Creek will be getting its own brewery in the heart of Technology Park, serving craft beers with local flavor.
Father and son Charles and Clay Gridley will fulfill a lifelong dream with the creation of Six Bridges Brewing.
“This guy [Charles Gridley, the father] had talked about opening a father and son brewery for years and years and years, probably even before I was of the legal drinking age,” Clay joked.
Charles was facing retirement from a career in chemical engineering when his son, a firefighter with a passion for home brewing, decided he was ready for a change of pace.
“This is right in both of our wheelhouses,” Charles said.
The men set to work building the craft brewery of their dreams.
At Six Bridges Brewery, visitors will find an outdoor seating area and large taproom with games, TVs and on occasion live music and food trucks. The goal is to create a relaxing, bar-like environment where people can enjoy their brews.
The brewery itself was built with expansion in mind. After asking other Atlanta breweries their biggest regret, the number one thing the Gridleys heard was that the companies had not been prepared to grow with the demand.
With that in mind, they built a cooler the size of two racquetball courts. They are opening with four 1,000 gallon fermenters, but they have room for 12 more. That’s not including the smaller fermenters they use for experimental flavors.
“People want to try something new, that’s the whole idea behind the craft brew industry,” Clay said. “We’re not nailed down to one thing. If we want to try something different one day we can do it.”
Johns Creek is more than an address for Six Bridges. From the interior decorations, to the products they offer, to the name itself, the Gridleys are making every effort to connect with the local community.
The brewery’s name is a reference to the six bridges that once crossed the Chattahoochee River and later provided the names of several roads in Johns Creek. The Gridleys knew they wanted to name their company after a local landmark and asked the city’s Community Development Department to come up with a list of options.
“Six Bridges just jumped out,” Clay Gridley said.
Next, they went to the Johns Creek Historical Society to learn the stories behind the name. Historical Society President Joan Compton developed a mural for the taproom that shows the locations of the original bridges.
Six Bridges Brewing is using local wood to build its tables, local artists to design its logos, local musicians to provide entertainment and local ingredients in its more adventurous beers.
“We want to share that local pride and ownership,” the senior Gridley said. “Part of that connection with the city is giving back.”
The Gridleys have been brainstorming about more ways to involve themselves in the community. They drew inspiration from the poem “The Bridge Builder” by Will Allen Dromgoole, which tells of an old man who builds a bridge to help other travelers. Charles said they plan to start a club called Bridge Builders as a way to help the community.
Six Bridges Brewing is at 11455 Lakefield Drive. The brewery plans to have a soft opening in late November with an official grand opening in early December. For information about opening hours or renting the space for a private event, visit sixbridgesbrewing.com.