Thirsty visitors to Powder Springs’ upcoming $3.7 million downtown park will likely have a new spot to wet their whistles.
The owners of Railcat Brewing, makers of craft beer, soda and coffee, seek to open shop on Broad Street near the new park, which is set to open in mid-May. The owners have purchased the building and received all their required permits and are working to secure the last bit of funding.
Head brewer Logan Hemphill said he’s hoping to open up around the same time. Hemphill got his start brewing at Marietta’s Red Hare Brewing Company. He is currently head brewer at Dry County Brewing in Kennesaw.
He’s planning the spot with his wife, Chief Marketing Officer Beth Hemphill.
Logan Hemphill said the brewery will be an anchor for the downtown park.
“We’re going to be much more community-based and taproom-focused, with very little to no distribution of our product,” he said. “We’re focused on truly being a part of revitalizing the downtown there, serving the surrounding community and helping the city bring events to the downtown area.”
Railcat is set to include handmade sodas, including flavors such as orange vanilla cream soda. Craft coffee is set to follow.
“We want to be all-inclusive, so if families bring kids or if someone doesn’t want to drink alcohol, we have something to offer them,” Hemphill said. “It’s easy to sell Coke or Pepsi products out of a fridge, but we can make those craft as well, and they’ll be brewed on site.”
When it opens, Railcat will partner with food trucks, but the Hemphills have plans to eventually prepare meals in the brewery itself.
The real star will be the beer, however, and Logan Hemphill said he hopes to produce a wide variety of different brews.
“It will be across the board, we’re not really leaving anything off the table,” he said. “From a Kölsch to pale ale, IPA, stout, sours, we’re trying to make sure we hit the gamut and provide something for everyone.”
If you show up at the right time, you may get to see Hemphill at work — the brewery will feature a sign shaped like a hops bud that will light up when he’s brewing akin to Krispy Kreme’s iconic light.
Hemphill said the craft beer community is really tight-knit — when he told the bosses at Dry County he was staking out on his own, they offered nothing but support, he said — and he hopes to bring that same friendly spirit to Powder Springs.
“What I like the most about the job is sharing a pint with customers and talking about the beer with them, and that’s what I look forward to with a more community-based brewery, spending more time brewing and less time pushing product to market,” he said.
A downtown park, which is still awaiting its official name, has long been a goal for Mayor Al Thurman and the members of the City Council. Thurman has said the park, which will be adjacent to the Silver Comet Trail, will attract new visitors to the city’s downtown, spurring business growth in the once-lethargic district.
City Councilman Patrick Bordelon said the transformation is already beginning. One restaurant, Marietta Street Café and Grill, opened its doors last year, and a store called Rooted Trading Co. is set to open in the spring in the former site of the historic Butner-McTyre General Store.
Bordelon said those businesses will be a huge draw for people coming into town from the adjacent Silver Comet Trail, which brings thousands of visitors to the city each year.
“We’re going to redo the whole streetscape on Broad Street between the new trading company and country store leading down to Railcats Brewery,” he said. “It will pull the whole downtown together and be the anchor of our entertainment district.”
According to documents on the city website, Powder Springs has been seeking a downtown brewery since as early as 2017.
Bordelon said studies and citizen feedback showed reinvigorating the downtown would require appealing to a younger demographic.
“One of the consultants who came in, we asked what we need to do to bring (the downtown) back to life, he said ‘show me where the booze is,’” Bordelon said with a laugh. “That’s going to have to be an element, but we’ll do it in a way that’s going to be family friendly.”