Atlanta’s Beltline project has driven some new developments in Atlanta, and the Lee & White warehouse redevelopment project near Adair Park is an example of the kind of thing that Beltline supporters hoped to see. This isn’t a real estate or urban planning blog, so rather than digging into those aspects of the development, I’m going to talk about some of the distilleries and breweries you might find there. Hop City calls Lee & White “Malt Disney”, and with three breweries, a bottle shop, a distillery, a kombucha brewery, and many restaurants and bars on site (along with open containers allowed on the property), it’s understandable.
Lee & White was the second stop after Old Fourth Distillery on my summer Booze Geek Roadtrip, and my primary destination there was ASW Distillery’s Whiskey Exchange. ASW is a favorite distillery of mine, and I’ll be making some additional posts about their other locations in the future, but I’ll talk a little bit about them here to give some background (and explain why this isn’t actually the “right” order to visit their locations in).
If you’re interested in other stops on my roadtrip, an overview of the trip and a list of stops with links to the articles is available.
ASW and the Whiskey Exchange
Opening in 2016, ASW is the largest distillery in Georgia. Their first location is on Armour Drive near Sweetwater’s brewery. They have two copper pot stills here where they make their whiskeys (and sometimes brandy). As they grew and needed more space to hold barrels of aging spirit, they opened their second location at Lee & White. This location has no stills, it functions as an aging warehouse and tasting room. Later, ASW opened a third location at the Battery in Cobb County, where they have a copper pot and multi-column still setup to make their vodka and gins. I’ll make separate posts about those locations with more details and photos later.
Why is it called the Whiskey Exchange? That’s a theme chosen by the late, great Brett Ferencz, better known as Scotch Trooper, who managed that location. Over the top of their bar you’ll see tally boards based on designs from old stock and commodity exchanges. Unfortunately, much of the method behind the boards existed in Brett’s mind, and the staff haven’t deciphered much of the boards, which have been left as they were when Brett last managed the location.
My guess on how the boards work
If you don’t care just skip to the next section, but this literally just occurred to me as I was typing the last paragraph.
OK, here’s my guess. The Available board stands alone, but the Atlanta, Brands, Barrels, and ASWX 12 Mo Maturity boards all go together. Starting with the Brands board you can then look left and right and understand what the other charts represent. Looking at Tire Fire (their peated single malt whiskey) to the left you’ll see the price of the peated malt used in it. To the right you’ll see they have 54 barrels of it in the warehouse, and farther to the right I assume they’re either showing how many barrels they’ve filled each month or how many they expect will be mature enough to bottle. The staff in the tasting room said they had no clue what anything meant on the board, so this is just my guess, but it seems to make sense.
ASW’s aging warehouse
Enough about the boards, you’re here to see casks full of whiskey!
There’s quite a bit there as you can see. A few casks leaked and had a good amount of barrel candy on the heads and sides.
If you’re planning to tour ASW’s locations, this may not be the order you want to try them in if you want to follow the spirit production process from grain to glass, but that’s up to you. You could always see it as a journey backwards from the glass of whiskey in your hand through aging, distillation, and fermentation as well.
Warehouse tours are by request. They’re fairly short, as you might imagine, but it’s nice to see what they’re aging and their staff is great to talk with. After your tour, you can try flights of their spirits in the tasting room. They’ll also make cocktails and slushies and have merchandise available to buy.
Monday Night Brewing’s Garage
Monday Night Brewing‘s beers hit the market in 2011 just a few years before I moved to Singapore. Starting out with a contract brewing arrangement, they opened their own brewery two years later and have seen steady growth and a string of awards for their beer since then.
Their West End location is a bit like ASW’s Exchange – it’s a tasting room, but also a warehouse for barrel aging beers. It’s also where they make their sour beers, and they have a coolship on site for wild fermentations (they’ve named theirs The Crunkship).
Brewery tours aren’t offered. They serve pretty damn good pizza to go with their beer in the tasting room, and also have merchandise available to buy. The ambiance was a bit lacking when I was there, but the beer and food are good.
Wild Heaven opened their brewery in 2013. This first location is in Avondale Estates, and West End is their second brewery/taproom. This location has a 7 BBL brewery onsite that’s used for recipe development and new beers that might not sell enough for a full run in their main brewery.
They don’t offer tours, but have a restaurant on site. There’s a small amount of merchandise available.
There’s much more at Lee & White that I didn’t have time to visit:
Open containers are allowed on the property, so you can walk between businesses with drinks.
The Lee & White development is at 1020 White St in Atlanta. Each business has their own hours and may or may not offer tours, so double check their website before you go. I was there on a weekday afternoon, and things were a little slow and quiet. I can’t speak for how busy it might be in the evening or on weekends.