Matt Fuller, Vince Cain and Zach Barnes are serious about beer — especially Louisville beer. As such, they’re seriously going to open Great Flood Brewing in early 2014 at 2120 Bardstown Road, near Twig & Leaf in the Highlands.
The 3,000-square-foot property is being renovated for a two-barrel system with which they hope to crank out about 8 barrels or up to 16 half-barrels per week. Their hope is to fill up their beer garden with a “hang-out” atmosphere, good brews and a unique pricing model.
Of course, one of the first questions out of my mouth was, “What kind of beer are you going to start out with?” The good news is they plan to have eight taps. The interesting news is, there will be a lot of experimenting going on, style-wise.
“We have a rotating IPA recipe we’ve been working on,” Vince says. “It’s a pretty high gravity IPA we like a lot. It’s not going to be for everybody. We have a coffee porter. One of our goals also is – we do extreme things, but we want to have craft beer for everyone.”
Matt added that the plan is to have beers on tap at all times that can appeal to different demographics; Zach says the recipes will remain “fluid” based on demand, but that there will be “every man” beers such as Kolsch styles and amber ales, for the more casual beer fan or someone just looking to whet their whistle.
“We have such a small capacity size and we’re going to brew so frequently that we’re going to have something new all the time,” Vince says. “You’ll get maybe two regulars and six rotators. When it comes to kind of beer have on tap, we’re going to allow the customer base to dictate how we brew. We’re not sure how it’s going to happen yet, but we’re willing to try pretty much anything.”
In short, don’t be surprised if there are a few “name the recipe” or “you choose the beer style” contests in the offing at Great Flood.
The name , of course, is a reference to exactly what you think: the Great Flood of 1937.
“We’re trying to bring in a historical tie, not just for our generation but generations past,” Zach says.
“We want to be part of the Highlands in every way,” Vince adds. “That’s our background, and that’s why we named the brewery the way we did. We want everything to reflect the heritage of the community.”
As for the pricing model, that’s an interesting proposition. At most microbreweries, you have the option to buy a flight or a sampler, usually for between six and eight bucks, that provides a chance to try five or more beers. Great Flood is going to expand this a bit: Beers will be priced by category, with the high gravity beers being a bit more expensive. You’ll be able to get a pint for a set cost or a 10-ounce pour for a little over half that cost.
Where it will differ from other craft breweries, where a sampler is a set animal, is that you’ll be able to get, say, a 10-ounce sampler for $2.50 as opposed to paying the six or eight bucks for 24 ounces worth of samples. The smaller sampler a) Keeps it more affordable, and b) affords a greater opportunity to find something you like and enjoy a pint of it.
Their point is that you know you can go have a couple of pints or whatever amount you choose, and you’ll know how much you’re going to spend going in. What they want is for Great Flood to be very “communal.”
“The same three guys brewing your beer will be the same guys pouring your beer and handing you your bee,” Vince says.
With both a sit-down bar and stand-up areas, Great Flood also will, hopefully, not be a place of segregation, where parties simply sit with their friends at a table.
“You can sit there with six of your buddies or one guy you know and four guys you’re just now meeting,” Matt says of the beer garden.
Not surprisingly, the Louisville beer community (and the community in general) is excited — Great Flood has done no marketing outside of social media and a couple of interviews, and the Facebook page already has close to 500 “Likes”.
“It’s really fun to hear people talk and hear the excitement,” Zach says. “It’s nice to hear from old friends you haven’t talked to in a while, and them saying ‘Its great you’re doing this, congratulations.'”
While the government shut-down has caused some delays and opening any new business presents its share of obstacles, the trio of young businessmen feel they can have Great Flood up and running by the end of March. Brace your palate for what will come next.
“We’re getting into the market because we enjoy drinking good craft beer, and we enjoy brewing good craft beer,” Matt says.
“It’s an art form,” Vince says of brewing beer. “We’ve never once made a beer that we said, ‘That’s the one we’re going to do from now on.’ We’re not going to stop making a better beer.”