WillCo breweries to make moves

WillCo breweries to make moves


This story first ran in our sister publication the Nashville Post.

In one of the more noteworthy developments involving the Nashville-area craft beer industry in recent years, Mantra Artisan Ales will leave its Franklin facility for Murfreesboro, with Mill Creek Brewing Co. to take that soon-to-be vacated Williamson County space.

According to a release, Mantra will move Sept. 1 to the 83-acre Hop Springs complex in Murfreesboro, joining sister breweries Steel Barrel Brewing (which focuses on lagers) and Humulus Project (specializing in IPAs). The three are branded collectively via parent company Life is Brewing Bev Co.

Relatedly, Mill Creek, which began production in 2016 in Nolensville (also located in Williamson County) will create at the soon-to-be ex-Mantra facility a taproom and brewery for experimental and specialty beers. An opening date was not disclosed in the release. The Franklin facility is located at 216 Noah Drive.

The costs to undertake the two moves are not being announced.

This will represent Mill Creek Brewing’s third taproom (joining one in 12South) and second production facility. Of note, the company will be the only brewery that brews and distributes packaged product and that operates in Williamson County. (Cool Springs Brewery in Franklin limits its production to its specific site.)

Derrick Morse, former head brewer of Cool Springs Brewery and Mantra master brewer, said in the release that Mantra, which opened in 2015, needs more space.

“The time is right with our new facility in Murfreesboro to go all in on our brand new beer park,” Morse said. “The Franklin location has served us well … but we have outgrown the physical space and are ready to embrace that growth and keep moving into the future.”

At the Hop Springs facility, Mantra will elevate from its original 15-barrel brew system to a new 60-barrel system that can brew more than 125,000 barrels a year. Mantra offers its beer in bottles.

Jay Martin, Mantra executive vice president of sales, said the Hop Springs facility “will allow us to keep a steady flow of our year-round offerings in the market as well as get us back to experimenting with new beers that will be offered in the taproom and at the upcoming beer gardens at MTSU football games.”

Chris Going, Mill Creek founder, said the opportunity for both breweries represents “a great example of the growth the brewing industry across Middle Tennessee is experiencing.”

He said Mill Creek has eyed Franklin as a potential expansion location “for the past few years.”

“The opportunity to take over this space, continue the beer legacy started there and become a new partner to the Franklin community all are exciting pieces of this win-win situation for both our companies,” Going added. “We wish our friends at Life Is Brewing nothing but the best as they continue on to the next chapter for their organization.”

Mantra began as a partnership involving celebrity chef and restaurateur Maneet Chauhan and her husband Vivek Deora, who remain part of the parent company. Of note, Mark Jones, Life is Brewing Bev Co. CEO, and Morse oversaw the development of Hop Spring complex, which is located on John Bragg Highway between Murfreesboro and Woodbury and includes hiking trails and disc golf.

Mill Creek distributes canned beer across Tennessee and in multiple other states. The Mill Creek Taproom in 12South opened in July 2018 and won, via readers, “Best Burger in Nashville” from Home Page sister publication Nashville Scene‘s Burger Week that year. Later in 2018, it was named as a Scene writer’s pick as “Best New Taproom.”

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