Falls City Beer is due to come home, as the iconic brand plans to return production and bottling – perhaps even canning – in Louisville in as little as five years.
“The long term goal is to bring all Falls City brewing back to Louisville … a five year goal,” said Falls City Operations Manager Drew Johnson. The company currently does most of their production in Nashville and in LaCrosse, Wisc.
Johnson and Brew-Master Brian Reymiller, alongside owner David Easterling, have been brewing up experimental beers at Falls City’s Research and Development Facility located at 545 Barret Ave. in the Phoenix Hill neighborhood.
The site reopened for business in April. Thursday through Saturday, it’s open to the public and has a bar and lounge area with walls covered in Falls City advertisements from back in The Day.
You can’t buy a pint due to zoning and licensing laws, but one can sample what’s on draft – usually about five different beers are on draft – or fill up a growler to take home.
Johnson and Reymiller have been testing out a variety of brews from stouts to sles, and even an IPA entitled the “Mystery Machine IPA” to accompany the lime-green Falls City Ford Econline van you may see driving around time to time.
Reymiller is formerly of Brownings and Victory brewing companies.
He is currently experimenting with recipes that may be Falls City’s next brew to be produced on a mass-scale, and perhaps even bottled.
Falls City already plans to offer its new American Wheat year-round, joining the English Pale Ale and the Black IPA as the brewing company’s core brews.
“Next one is going to be an IPA,” said Johnson.
The two are also working on making a Fall seasonal, as Johnson and Reymiller had whipped up a Red Ale last Thursday.
The research and hangout-friendly environment is a testing and feedback station for some of the recipes concocted by Reymiller and Johnson.
Johnson said the research facility has been critical to making Falls City one of the most broad tasting brews in town.
“It’s a good gateway beer; no extremes, usually around 5-percent alcohol,” said Johnson.
“I enjoy a good session beer.”
Falls City has gained a solid piece of the regional market two ways:
• With more experimental and retro beers brewed for small-scale distribution, they attract those deep craft brew divers.
• With their core beers, they make easy for conventional beer drinkers to take a leap of faith away from Bud Light.
“We now have 120 accounts,” said Johnson who recently scored a deal with St. Matthews party-haven Tin Roof.
“Tin Roof is killing it.”
Johnson said the Highlands is Falls City’s “bread and butter,” but the growth in neighborhoods across town has been exciting. The marketing rep even landed a deal with mega-chain Old Chicago Pizza & Tap Room, which has a store at 9010 Taylorsville Rd. in Jeffersontown.
Falls City is also now available in Northern Kentucky – Covington, Newport – as well as Lexington.
Not only are sales and distribution up, but so is the involvement of Falls City with the local and regional craft beer industry in Kentucky.
In “Beer-Can-Nomics” I mentioned that Falls City had yet to join the Kentucky Guild of Brewers … they’ve joined since then.
In addition, Johnson and Reymiller recently took a trip to Lexington to tour its booming craft scene and even spent time working on the canning line at the 90,000-square-foot facility of West Sixth Brewing Company.
The brand and logo we have all come to know is starting to buzz again, and could be a major force for Kentucky’s craft beer scene and player in expanding the “drink local” market.