What do you get when you mix a lawyer with a passion for beer, a business woman, a brew kettle, and a rabbit with antlers together in Music City? Jackalope Brewing Company of course!
Bailey Spaulding and Robin Virball, who met seven years ago while studying abroad at St. Andrews in Scotland, are in the final stages of preparation to open Tennessee’s first completely female-run brewery. This is the perfect story to share today (March 8th), which is the 100th anniversary of National Women’s Day. It’s exciting to see new women in craft beer, and even more exciting that they are no longer a rarity, but a driving force in the industry.
Spaulding began homebrewing while in law school at Vanderbilt, and quickly decided that opening her own brewery would be much more fun than actually becoming a lawyer. She quickly convinced Virball, who happens to have a marketing/business background, to be the other half of the team.
The duo, along with trusty Intern Steve, will see their dream become a reality when Jackalope opens this spring with three year-round beers and a rotating monthly tap. Each monthly special, which will be brewed in one 60 gallon batch, will give Bailey a chance to experiment with new recipes, bring some fun and spontaneity into the brewhouse, and best of all, a percentage of the sales of each of these beers will donated to charity.
After hearing about the first of these monthly specials, these promise to be creative, witty, and of course include an animal in the name (as will all of Jackalope’s beers). The first beer will be an Extra Special Bitter, called Bitter Over Ewe, which is brewed in honor, and out of bitterness, of the upcoming nuptials of Prince William and Kate Middleton.
Jackalope’s flagship beer will be a Red Rye. A twist on a traditional Irish red, a rye addition will be added during the boil to give it a subtly spicy finish. A Pale Ale and a Maple Brown will round out the rest of the year-round beers.
Both Bailey and Robyn are New England transplants, which at first makes Nashville seem like an odd choice to start their business. Bailey found herself in Nashville while attending law school at Vanderbilt, and quickly convinced Robyn that this would be the perfect place for their brewery, as the craft beer culture is relatively new in the southeast.
“It’s more fun to be a part of creating the beer culture here in Nashville,” said Spaulding. “Being from Vermont, with the most breweries per capita of any state, it’s exciting to be here, now, helping to introduce craft beer to such a great community.”
The taproom, which has been designed as “rustic/modern”, will feature barn wood tables with cast iron stands, re-purposed church pews, and even a special man cave; complete with antler chandeliers. The duo has been involved in every aspect of the re-model.
“We want the tap room to be a fun place where people really enjoying hanging out. We’ve tried to carefully balance kitschy and classic, blending the antler chandelier with dark blue walls, and hammering favorite beer quotes into farmhouse tables. Combining these two style ideas is really representative of Jackalope as a whole—we’re serious about our beer but have fun with it,” said Virball.
Brewer Q & A
In the future, who would you want to brew a collaboration beer with?
Sean Lawson of Lawson’s Finest Liquids, in Warren, Vermont.
Who in the industry would you most like to have a beer with?
The guys from BrewDog; they’re Scottish, hilarious, and make some crazy freaking beers.
Nashville will get their first taste of Jackalope beer at the inaugural East Nashville Beer Festival (ENBF), held on April 9th, at the East Bank Greenway. The festival will feature beers from 35 – 40 U.S. breweries and seven Belgian breweries.
“I am excited to be the event where Jackalope debuts their beer as I see the East Nashville Beer Festival as an opportunity for our guests to sample new beer and beers they never have had. What’s even cooler, is to allow the brewers to make the connection with the customers and in Jackalope’s case their new customers,” said ENBF creator, Matt Leff
Leff, who recently relocated to Nashville from Georgia, was inspired to start the festival because of the very active and abundant craft beer scene he enjoyed while living in Atlanta.
“I’ve noticed in the short time I have lived in Nashville that the beer community and culture is growing. People want more choices, and they want better beer! I wanted to create an event that can help change all things beer in Nashville, and also educate the community about craft beer,” said Leff.