Sandy Springs Brewing Co. is stopping by our #CleFleaSummerNights Block Party tonight for their very first Flea experience!
I spoke to Amanda Conrad, who co-owns and co-runs this 2-year old business with her husband Andy, about just how this business came about and what we can expect to taste at tonight’s event.
Please join me in welcoming them!
Amanda and Andy met in college and both began home brewing. They dreamed of owning their own brewery but decided on a different adventure first- traveling the country in a motorhome and working as location-independent physical therapists.
As they traversed the country in their motorhome, they typically found themselves in smaller towns (where at-home physical therapy is more common) and they noticed something kinda magical- many of these smaller areas had a locally-owned and operated microbrewery that ended up serving as a community gathering place AND as a catalyst for revitalization of the small town city cores.
Part of the fun of their post-grad career adventure was finding themselves in these smaller communities across the US, tasting a large selection of good beer along the way.
During their trip, they ended up at Santa Fe Brewing Co. –and that dream to begin a brewery began to take resurface. Soon they returned home to Minerva, Ohio, bought a home on a farm and made plans to begin their brewery in the barn on their property.
That’s when lightening struck.
And their barn burned down- an incident the couple initially took as a sign to give up this pipe dream of theirs and focus on work.
But that didn’t last long. They ended up looking for alternative locations in downtown Minerva and found a spot that reminded them of the small-town tap houses they visited on their travels. It all clicked into place for them. A brewery on their farm seemed charming, but what they loved most was the idea of craft beer helping to revitalize and reenergize their small town.
In November Amanda and Andy, along with their 13 employees will celebrate their 2-year biz-aversary.
Q + A with Amanda
How’d you learn the brewing business?
When we decided we wanted to go from home-brewing to a full-scale brewery, we emailed about 20 breweries to see if we could ‘intern’ for a week. No one reached back out except Santa Fe Brewing Co. So, we packed up and headed back to the desert for a week-long immersive internship in their brewing facility. We learned a TON about what it takes to operate a distribution brewery.
Why is all the work / money / time worth it for you?
We really create a sense of home outside of home. We love having the whole family and community in the space. We knew it’d be a lot of work, maybe not this much work, but the community aspect between the brewers and our own community makes it so much worth it. We’re a place where people are finding new friends!
What’s your typical day look like at Sandy Springs?
I help Andy ‘mash in’ every brew day but as soon as that’s over I go straight to business. Marketing, accounting, social media, front of the house management. We do everything ourselves with the exception of the taproom and kitchen. We have about 13 people on payroll.
So, Andy is the brewmaster?
Yes, he does all the brewing and recipe design. We always have 16 beers on tap and it’s always across the spectrum. Anything from a cream ale to an imperial stout and everything in between.
What’s your favorite beer?
Imperial Pilsner. It’s clean, crisp and strong. It’s the perfect beer after a long day’s work.
What’s a business dream you have for the future?
I still think we’d like to do something fun on the farm.
What’s on draft for Friday?
Porter, Cream Ale, Kolsch and an IPA