Wiseacre lands tax break to build 'Instagramable' Downtown taproom

By Published: December 14, 2018 10:46 AM CT

A swath of vacant land is purposely part of Wiseacre Brewing Co.’s plans for its new brewery and taproom Downtown.

“We’re building this with the thought that we can grow into it and grow quickly,” said Wiseacre co-founder Kellan Bartosch. “We maxed out our (Broad Avenue) facility in two years.”

Tom Bailey: Wiseacre to double jobs, expand distribution with Downtown brewery

The Downtown Memphis Commission’s Center City Revenue Finance Corp. (CCRFC) board on Tuesday, Dec. 11, approved Wiseacre Brewing Co.’s request for a 15-year tax abatement to build an expanded 43,000-square-foot brewery and taproom at the corner of B.B. King Boulevard and Vance Avenue.

The Broad Avenue location will remain as a small specialty brewhouse.

The $9.2 million brewery will be located just east of the South Main neighborhood, about a two-minute walk from Central BBQ’s Downtown location on Butler Avenue.

“Local breweries and taprooms can be catalytic to developing neighborhoods, attracting people and investment,” said Brett Roler, DMC vice president of planning and development. “Infill development like this is critical if we want to link South Main and South City.”  

The currently vacant lot generates about $12,800 in annual city and county property taxes. During the payment-in-lieu-of-taxes (PILOT) term, taxes will increase by nearly 300 percent, for a cumulative increase of more than half a million dollars.  

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As a CCRFC-assisted project, the target 25 percent spend with minority- and women-owned businesses is $1.7 million.

The Downtown location will initially employ 40 people, but could grow to employ up to 70, Bartosch said.

Wiseacre is working to finalize the design and financing in order to break ground in early 2019 with a 12- to 18-month construction timeframe.

Graphic designer and illustrator Rachel Briggs, who designs Wiseacre’s cans and posters, is working to create “Instagramable moments” throughout the brewery.

Public art will be a major component of the covered patio and outdoor space, Bartosch said, which will also include outdoor seating and a potential space for live music.  


Downtown Memphis Commission Center City Revenue Finance Corp. Wiseacre Brewing Co.
Michelle Corbet

Michelle Corbet

Michelle Corbet covers business for The Daily Memphian. Prior to, she was a reporter at the Memphis Business Journal. A native Memphian and University of Memphis graduate, Michelle covered business in Conway, Arkansas after college. Michelle got her start covering business as an intern at The Commercial Appeal.

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