Gate City Brewing Co.’s new taproom The Artillery Room focuses on craft cocktails in a building that once burnt to the ground in 1984.
The newly renovated 3,700 square foot space boasts upstairs loft seating and an outdoor terrace for the community to enjoy. The expansive roll-up garage door opening on Canton Street becomes the ‘gateway’ to the brewery’s compound and Gate City Taproom. This project had been dreamt of by owners Pat Rains and Brian Borngesser for years before the perfect opportunity arose.
Gate City Brewing Co. officially opened their taproom in 2015, serving exclusively Gate City made craft beer and offering a place for the Roswell community to enjoy. Rains and Borngesser recognized the trend in the marketplace as customers were looking for something more than just beer. Their community-focused business model propelled them into creating a local experience that all would enjoy — thus, The Artillery Room was born.
“As the taproom grew, what we realized is just that not everybody’s a beer drinker, and that’s okay,” Rains said. “While we would love everybody to drink beer, this effect is that there’s other choices that people have and so this was one way for us to diversify.”
Rains and his team have created 27 different cocktails, with eight rotating on tap at all times. The vodka and simple syrups are made in house, and according to Rains, they are working with bourbons. Rains and his team will later work on distilling gin.
The building The Artillery Room has taken over — 932 Canton Street — was initially part of the Ford Dealership compound. Then in the ’70s, Ed Mortimer opened the space as Ed’s Gun & Tackle, which operated until a massive fire in 1984 burnt the store to the ground.
According to an article that ran in the Roswell Neighbor at the time, the fire originated from 20 to 30 pounds of gunpowder stored in the basement. Exploding ammunition fueled the flames, but fire fighters were able to subdue the flames within an hour. Three Roswell fire fighters were struck with flying shrapnel, one of which took a bullet during the incident and thankfully survived.
“Gate City, our emblem is the Phoenix, kind of rising from the ashes and a new beginnings,” Rains said. “The farther we got into this project, it was like, ‘Oh my goodness, it just fits like so perfectly with our brand.’ And this is kind of our next instance of the phoenix rising from the ashes.”
The Artillery Room pays tribute to the history of the space both in name and in structure. During renovations, the history behind the walls was discovered. The original exposed brick and design elements are where local history, art and spirits merge to create a rustic, inviting and down-to-earth space that focuses on community and craft cocktails.
“One of the things we do really well is community and sense of community and bringing anybody and everybody in to kind of share in the community,” Rains said. “Now with this edition, we’re giving the non-beer drinker a chance to experience Gate City in the same way as a beer drinker.”
In short, this historic landmark embodies the spirit of the city and will be leaving a local legacy for all patrons to enjoy.
“(We will) continue to tell the story of this great building and the history of Roswell — there’s so much that happened in this building,” Rains said. “It’s really amazing when you get 100 years down the road and start looking back at all the different stories that happened in here.”
The Artillery Room is open Sunday through Tuesday from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday from 12 p.m. to 11 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 12 p.m. to 12 a.m. The taproom is at 932 Canton St.