James May-June 2022 web - Flipbook - Page 23
BY BAKER OWENS
eatured in this issue’s CEO Spotlight is
As part of our annual Sippin’ Local feature, James
Karen Bremer, president and CEO of the
asked readers to cast votes online on our company webGeorgia Restaurant Association. In our intersite insideradvantage.com for their favorite brewery,
view she stresses the place that the restaurant
distillery and winery across the state. Our winners come
industry holds in the community— something
from three very different areas and have very different
that became so prevalent these past couple years
origins. The one thing they have in common, though, is
during the uncertainty around COVID-19. Our brewerloyal customers and success. We feature here a little bit
ies, distilleries and wineries hold a similar place, and the
about each winner, plus the other top 10 vote getters in
annual Sippin’ Local feature is again proud to highlight
each category. Congratulations to all the winners!
some of the best from across the state.
The beverage industry is still rapidly
growing in Georgia, lying more or less dormant for decades before exploding the past
few years after some legislative changes
made doing business a little easier— though
legislation did stall this year to allow increased sales beyond what is essentially a
case of beer. The economic impact of breweries, distilleries and wineries is in the billions
of dollars and growing each year. The popularity of the business means more people are
seeking to get into the industry. Georgia wineries have moved well past being a handful in
Georgia’s family of creative brewing and distilling innorth Georgia. Breweries are in communities
dustries continues to grow by leaps and bounds, adding
all over the state, not just a couple in Athens
new jobs, opportunities and community gathering spots
or Atlanta. Atlanta brewery behemoth SweetWater even sold to a Canadian company for
that not only contribute to our economy, but also add a
$300 million in 2020.
sense of place. We’re proud that these beverage compaAt a time when people are placing new
value on congregating together, the beverage
nies are part of the more than 1,500 food and beverage
industry is poised to continue its growth and
processing companies that call Georgia home.
facilitate an experience people are aching
for. Ironically, because of the restrictions that
BRIT TANY YOUNG
legislation placed on them, breweries, disCOO and Acting Deputy Commissioner
for Global Commerce at the Georgia
tilleries and wineries offer a different expeDepartment of Economic Development
rience than a traditional restaurant and bar.
Things are often more lively, open and active.
Often located in unique spaces, there is also
evidence of the care and craft these places
put into making their products. There’s just
something different when the person serving you may have used their own hands and
knowledge to make the drink in your hand.
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