High Cotton Brewing adds brewing capacity, employees

The verdict is in: Memphis loves its beer.
It’s seen all over town these days, in the longtime affair with Ghost River Brewing and in the flirtation with newcomers Memphis Made Brewing Company and Wiseacre Brewing Co.
In the Edge District – the future Innovation District in the neighborhood bordering Downtown and the Medical Center – High Cotton Brewing is ramping up its production. Open since May 2013, partners Brice Timmons, Ryan Staggs, Ross Avery and Michael Lee have recently brought in new stainless steel tanks to take their production from 800 barrels per year to nearly 1,500. Two kegs make up a single barrel of beer.
“Demand scaled up faster than we expected,” Timmons said. “We knew it would increase, and we knew that we would be increasing capacity, we’re just doing it a little bit faster than we expected to.”
It isn’t just more beer flowing in the brewery; the team has added employees as well. Paul Cottam, former packaging manager for Ghost River, is now general operations manager; John McAlexander, sales and delivery, is also a microbiologist and will be helping with lab work; and Chuck Marcum is brewery assistant.
Overwhelming demand for a cold beer and place to meet and drink it with friends can be seen weekend nights at Wiseacre in the Broad Avenue Arts District. With nearly a half-million dollars invested in High Cotton’s century-old, one-time livery stable, the team has planned a room of their own since the beginning.
The wait is almost up.
“We should be breaking ground essentially immediately,” Timmons said. “We’ve got the design done, we've got the bids, we picked a contractor and we’re pulling the trigger right away.”
The taproom has been designed by Graham Reese Design Group.

By Richard J. Alley
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