Brewing company poised to expand to Athens

May 12—Athens will soon welcome a brewing company to its community. Old Black Bear Brewing, currently in Madison, is set to expand to Athens.

"It'll be the first of its kind here," said council president Chris Seibert.

The company, which recently closed on a location, has begun renovations and hopes to open its doors within the year, according to Bethany Shockney, president of the Limestone County Economic Development Association.

At the May 9 City Council meeting, Shockney and council members discussed a tax abatement for the brewery.

"They are expecting 45 employees over the next three years once it gets into production. Total capital investment of $1.5 million They are requesting an abatement of non-educational taxes for sales and use taxes during construction, as well as property taxes. During the construction, they will save about $6,700 but the schools will receive $3,725. The property tax abatements will save them $57,000, but they will be paying the schools $47,000 over that 10-year period. We are pleased to have them have selected Athens for the expansion of the manufacturing of their brew, rather than where they are currently located," said Shockney.

The resolution to grant the tax abatement was unanimously granted.

The mission of the Old Black Bear Brewing Company is to make high-quality craft beer at a fair price.

"Our decision to start brewing beer and sharing it with the public came from our desire to create a great beer that real people can not only enjoy, but also relate to. Some beer companies try to market their beer as being able to bring you a life of leisure; others may try to convince you that higher alcohol content automatically means better beer; others may simply try to sell you beer of poor quality and claim, 'It's a craft beer.' People know better than that, and our goal is to make great beer and sell it at a fair price, without using silly marketing gimmicks," the company says on its website.

The next City Council meeting will take place on June 6, 2022, at 5 p.m.