The “Wall of Ties” — a towering neon-lit display tacked with layers of old neckties — is maybe the most conspicuous of the many playful design elements in the new Monday Night Brewing tasting room on Atlanta’s Westside.
But there are tie-shaped tap handles and tie-shaped door handles, too. And even the shiny stainless steel fermentation tanks out in the brewery are hung with giant ties.
Like their motto, “Weekends Are Overrated,” ties are proud emblems for the three Monday Night partners, Jonathan Baker, Jeff Heck and Joel Iverson, who met in a weekly Bible study, and decided to open a craft brewery together while concocting homebrew recipes in Heck’s garage.
“We started as white collar guys, and when we’d come home on a Monday, we’d loosen our ties and brew beer,” said Baker, who has the title, Marketing Guy and Master of Mind Control.
“Monday is traditionally a much maligned day of the week but for us it became a day to look forward to and a time to cherish. The tie became a symbol of that for us.”
Fittingly, Monday Night will open to the public for the first time on Monday Jan. 28, with tours of the brewery and tastes of its three signature beers, Fu Manbrew Belgian-style Wit, Eye Patch Ale, and Drafty Kilt Scotch Ale.
The way to a bricks-and-mortar brewery has been a long and winding one, Baker, Heck and Iverson admit.
They began with a three-year business plan back in 2006, which became more like a five year business plan, and then some.
In 2011, they launched Eye Patch and Drafty Kilt, which were brewed under contract by Thomas Creek Brewery in South Carolina.
In 2012, they acquired a 20,000-square-foot building adjacent to the water works on Trabert Avenue, and installed a 30-barrel brewhouse.
In January, they brewed their first batch of beer,
“It’s kind of surreal,” said Iverson, who has the title, Operations Guy and Taste-testing Ninja. “It was all these years in the making and every time I walk back there I can’t believe it’s real. Seeing all the little things that you thought about, and put time and effort into, and then it looks like you were hoping it would look.”
“I’ve got three little kids so it sort of feels like the pregnancy stage has lasted for six years rather than nine months,” said Heck. “The brewery feels a lot like having a new baby — a remarkable amount of excitement, and at the same time, nervousness.”
Heck, who has the title CEO Guy and Supreme Beer Chancellor, is the only one of the partners who still has a full-time day job. He works and a private equity firm, which he said came in handy last year when it was time to line up investors and and secure a Small Business Administration loan.
At a recent preview party, Baker, Heck and Iverson displayed a brotherly camaraderie as they greeted old friends, joshed each other, and posed for pictures with Monday Night pint glasses in hand.
Later, the partners said that experience brought back fond memories of the old days in the garage, when they had people over to watch them brew and taste their beer — and dreamed about what it would be like to own a small brewery one day.
“We were doing that on Monday Nights for six years or so,” Iverson said. “I love making beer. But I also love people coming in and enjoying the beer and the conversations that go with that.”
“That’s the thing I love about craft beer, the sense that it connects people,” Heck agreed. “It’s not just about pushing a product through a distribution system; it’s about connecting people. That’s the biggest thing I’m excited about.
“Frankly, though, now the hard work starts. We’ve got to make good beer, and we’ve got to sell a lot of it.”
Monday Night Brewing opens to the public, 5:30-7:30 p.m. Jan. 28. Age 21 and over. $10, includes brewery tour, four tasting tickets, and a pint glass. 670 Trabert Ave. NW, Atlanta, 404-352-7703, mondaynightbrewing.com.
— By Bob Townsend, AJC Drink blog