The wave of craft beer continues to wash over Alpharetta and surrounding areas.
Nick Tanner founded Cherry Street last year along with Dan Reingold and Jonny Bradley in Vickery Village in south Forsyth. Nick was born and raised in Alpharetta and attended college at Colorado State. It was out in Fort Collins, the Napa Valley of brewing, where Nick received a well rounded education in all things brewing. He became a close family friend of the son the family who runs New Belgium Brewing. The son had come back from beer schooling in Germany when Nick moved in with the family and was immersed in the brewing industry.
Nick started brewing beers after a friend of his brewed a blueberry porter in a Home Depot bucket. It was a “if he can do it in that, I can do it too” kind of thing. In 2007 Nick helped form a brewing cooperative in a garage on Cherry Street in downtown Fort Collins. The goal of the club was to gather with other home brewers and brew together, sharing equipment and saving money by purchasing ingredients in bulk for the club. If someone wanted some beer for an event or party, they were invited to come in and brew it themselves, rather than just buying it. It lent a deeper appreciation for where the beer came from.
In 2009 Nick’s father Rick Tanner called and needed Nick to come back to Alpharetta to help run two new restaurants. Nick and his father had the idea of opening a brew pub for a few years after one closed in Fort Collins. The plan was to buy it but those plans never came to fruition.
Nick submitted the paperwork for Cherry Street in January 2012 and was finally approved to brew December 12, 2012. Cherry Street has been growing ever since. Beers are distributed exclusively through Tanner’s. Currently there are ten beers on draft. There are plans to expand to twelve full time beers by summer.
Cherry Street brews in small batches of 100 gallons at a time. Small batches mean more variety and less waste if a style doesn’t sell well. Expect styles of beers like Irish Red and cream ales that can’t be found readily in the area. Also look for Cherry Streets beers in growler stores, most notably Crafty Draught.
They are also currently adding equipment to keep up with demand. Nick is hoping in the future to expand into the next door space and open a beer bar. The goal is to become a public house of sorts, a community gathering place.
Community is very important to the guys at Cherry Street. Cherry Street hosts a beer bash on the last Tuesday of each month. It coincides with a new beer debut and it ties in with a local charity. So far they’ve raised money for cancer charity Paint Georgia Pink, the West Forsyth lacrosse team and charity that provides clean drinking water in Haiti.
Not everyone can brew with these guys, but they will have contests in the future for home brewers to win a chance to have their beers on tap at Tanners. Cherry Street also use a type of crowd-funding to assuage some of the costs of the brewery. Called the Mug Club, fans can join for prices ranging from $100 to an eye watering $850. Currently there are 48 members.
Brewing is not only a job for these guys, it’s a passion and obsession. They won first place people’s choice in the cask category at the Classic City Beer Fest in Athens. Come on by Tanner’s at Vickery Village and have a glass of a locally brewed, hand crafted beer. And if the guys are in the brewery, knock on the door and say hi. Cherry Street Brewing Cooperative wants to be your brewer.
Cherry Street Brewing Co-op and Rick Tanner’s Grille and Bar are located at 5810 Bond Street in Forsyth County’s Vickery Village.