The Marietta Development Authority unanimously voted Wednesday to give the microbrewery a $40,000 grant to help fund a $2.8 million expansion project that includes expanding the brewery and updating equipment.
Chairman Ed Hammock, a commercial real estate broker, said it’s important to keep good companies in Marietta.
“If they’re a progressive company and if they’re having up to 20 new people over the next three years and they’re expanding their business — that’s the kind of people we like to keep,” Hammock said.
The grant is funded by fees made off tax-exempt industrial bonds the authority issues to help foster redevelopment. Hammock said the authority, which is appointed by the Marietta City Council, doesn’t award many grants.
“It’s not very often we do that,” Hammock said. “It usually has to be some case where they’re going to add employees or some sort of thing. We don’t give out grants just because they ask for it.”
The Marietta Development Authority’s decision comes two weeks after members of the Development Authority of Cobb County’s three-member Grants Committee agreed to give the brewery a $60,000 “retention grant,” which is funded in a similar way to the city’s development authority.
That committee can approve grant requests between $50,000 and $100,000. Requests for grants less than $50,000 can be awarded by Nelson Geter, authority executive director, without approval of the committee or his 7-member board appointed by the Cobb Board of Commissioners.
Grants of more than $100,000 must get the go-ahead from a majority of the authority board.
Red Hare’s bank agreed to back the project, but required the beer company raise $500,000, Geter said when the county development authority committee made its decision. The company raised all but $100,000 on its own.
Committee Chairman Bob Morgan was not at the Cobb meeting, but members Donna Rowe and Richard Moore voted to approve the grant request, calling it a “no-brainer” and “strong return on investment.”
Red Hare recently partnered with Cobb-based Novelis to launch a line of craft beer packaged in the evercan, which contains at least 90 percent recycled aluminum. Novelis also received incentives from the county authority, which amounted to a $1.1 million bond inducement for personal property.
The microbrewery started as a hobby in Marietta basement, co-owner Bobby Thomas told the MDJ earlier this month. He founded the business alongside Roger Davis, and it’s continuing to develop.
In 2011, the first year of full production, Thomas said the brewery produced about 2,400 barrels. The next year that number skyrocketed to 5,200.
“We expect huge growth next year and moderate growth this year,” Thomas said.