Jan 7, 2022 - Food and Drink

Bearded Iris joins collective, eyes growth

The Bearded Iris Homestyle IPA in a glass next to its can.
The Bearded Iris Homestyle IPA. Photo: Nate Rau/Axios

Nashville-based Bearded Iris is joining a brewery collective called IndieBrew to continue growing its business.

  • Bearded Iris already boasts the top-selling canned craft beer in Tennessee, according to Nielsen data cited in a press release.

Why it matters: The growth of Bearded Iris is the latest success for a Nashville independent brewery scene that has exploded over the last ten years.

  • IndieBrew hopes to pool resources to help small breweries overcome disadvantages they face in the market, including the supply chain interruptions that have also hounded bars and restaurants.
  • Joining the collective gives Bearded Iris access to a wider sales market and makes it easier to source and procure ingredients.

Background: IndieBrew was launched last year by Atlanta-based Scofflaw. Bearded Iris is the second brewery to join.

  • Participating breweries will also combine human resources, accounting and other back-office functions.

What they're saying: "(Scofflaw's Matt Shirah) and I decided we want to be part of the solution to create something that will protect brands and businesses for the long haul," Bearded Iris founder Kavon Togrye said in a press release. "So, despite the challenges we all face, our fans can remain confident that our products will be available to them well into the future.”

The big picture: After Gerst Brewing closed in 1954, Nashville went decades without any local breweries.

  • Yazoo Brewing Company founder Linus Hall detailed the rapid resurgence of Nashville's craft brew industry in a recent panel discussion about beer hosted by Vanderbilt University.
  • "We were the only packaging brewing for a long time," Hall said. Since 2011, "it's kind of exploded. I think we're up to 30 breweries in the Nashville metro area."

Driving the news: Hall says he thinks there's room for more growth, even as the competition has increased.

  • "For the most part it's really a healthy scene - a lot of collaboration and camaraderie," Hall says. "It's getting a little bit saturated, but there's still places you can't find a good local beer on tap, or in a bottle or cans."
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