Tailgate Beer Brewery
The Official Craft Beer of Tailgating
7300 Charlotte Pike
Nashville, TN 37209
The first thing you notice when arriving at Tailgate Beer’s new West Nashville headquarters is the sheer size of the property. Sitting on 7.5 acres of land off Charlotte Pike, the brewery has a giant parking lot (a rarity these days in Nashville) and 16,000 square feet of building to grow into.
Founder and owner Wesley Keegan has ambitious plans for the space, which for a long time served as a Moose Lodge (still evident in its architecture). His plans include dueling tap rooms (one quiet, one more rowdy), a home-brew store, a 7,000 square foot event space, a refurbished barn that will serve as a German-style beer hall, Japanese-inspired community gardens, and an outdoor stage for live music events. But first, comes the brewing. The craft beer company, which relocated to Nashville from San Diego in July, isn’t currently brewing on-site (that actually happens at a craft brewery in Wisconsin), but Keegan expects his brewing equipment to arrive next month. For now, just the 20-handle taproom is open, which will include one tap dedicated to each local brewer, one tap for hard cider and one tap for nitro beers.
When Tailgate moved to Nashville, it had a distribution network across 14 states, but the company has scaled back its beer offerings and distribution with the move.
Today its available in a handful of states, including Tennessee (through Ajax Turner), and sold in stores like Walmart, Mapco and local beer stores. The company has scaled down production to its two most popular brews – a blacktop blonde and a session IPA.
“It was tough to break into the market here,” said Keegan, of the reason for relocating. “A lot of people said, ‘If you were in the South, we’d carry you.’ ”
The company, which was founded in 2007, was also at the point where it wanted to open its first retail presence (it had been exclusively production and wholesale). And Nashville prices looked a whole lot better than downtown San Diego’s.
“I mean, I have a 16,000-square-foot building,” Keegan said, expanding his arms to gesture to the property around us as we toured the grounds. Keegan is in the process of buying the property, but the transaction hasn’t closed yet. With all the outdoor space, he hopes to host a beer fest at least once a month, with cheap tickets and lots of beer flowing, and a more casual atmosphere than some of the larger beer fests.
When his brewing equipment arrives and is installed, Keegan expects to devote significant tank space to “extreme beers,” or R&D as he called it, in addition to more mainstream seasonal beers and “hop-monters.”
So what’s the timeline on all of this? Keegan doesn’t have a set one, as everything is still in development, but it will be at least a year for the outdoor landscaping and gardens.
“I’ve been doing this for seven years, which has taught me patience,” said Keegan.