Flat Hat American Ale takes flight; could land in Downtown taproom

Collierville-based Flat Hat American Ale owners Mike and Cynthia Sadler have been very active their whole lives, so they wanted to start a venture that would be for active people.

Their new beer will be available in local restaurants, bars and convenience stores soon, and a brewery location, possibly Downtown, could be on the horizon.

Mike Sadler is a FedEx pilot and was formerly in the Navy as a naval aviator. The Flat Hat name comes from an early aviation term used to describe unauthorized low altitude flying. The legend was that a pilot flew so low to a road that he hit a pedestrian on the head and crushed his top hat.

“Although it was frowned upon by the military, it was something most of us did. It was about testing your limits and pushing yourself and trying to excel to be the best at what you were doing, which relates to anybody with whatever sport or activity you’re involved in,” said Sadler.

The Sadlers enlisted help from their son, Jordy, who manages a bar in Nashville, and a consultant there who helps people get started with new beer companies.

“We wanted something that is light, refreshing and tasted good,” said Sadler. “We were looking for a transitional beer between a Budweiser or Coors but not as heavy as some of the craft beers you see now that are very hoppy. We have a great recipe we think that fits right in the middle.”

The beer is brewed by Second Self Brewing in Atlanta, and Sadler hopes to expand outward from Memphis and Nashville into Mississippi next and then towards Georgia, where it will be easier to gain distribution since the beer is made there.

The Sadlers just received their first usable batch of Flat Hat American Ale, and they just signed on with Empire Distributing in Memphis and Nashville. The Trophy Room in Collierville has already agreed to carry the new beer, and The Bluffs on Highland has expressed interest.

A main goal of the new brand will be to sponsor local sporting events and athletic activities to be involved with helping people live active lifestyles. In May, they sponsored a golf tournament for the Transportation Club of Memphis, and they will be involved with the Grind City Getdown dodgeball tournament in September as well as the Germantown Oktoberfest.

“That’s how we’re getting started here locally, just to become involved and get our beer out there,” said Sadler.

“It’s all self-funded at this point. It’s been a grassroots effort on our own, getting out and talking to people and letting them sample our beer. We’ll see once we get the beer out into the market and they have a chance to buy it.”

Further down the line could be a brewery location Downtown. The Sadlers are scouting locations now.

“We would start off as a taproom, serving beers and appetizers with some type of entertainment, and then we would try to grow the brewery out of that,” Sadler said.

Read more articles by Michael Waddell.

Michael Waddell is a native Memphian who returned to Memphis several years ago after working for nearly a decade in San Diego and St. Petersburg, Fla., as a writer, editor and graphic designer. His work over the past few years has been featured in The Memphis Daily News, Memphis Bioworks Magazine, Memphis Crossroads, the New York Daily News and the New York Post. Contact Michael.
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