A Collierville woman has announced plans to open the town’s first craft brewpub, Maroon Brew Co., in the spring of 2024.
Maggie Emerson has inked a lease on a 4,800-square-foot space at 642 West Poplar, in a shopping center behind the old O’Charley. The location was formerly occupied by Thomas Meat and Seafood Market.
Maroon Brew will have a small, five-barrel brewing system and will focus on taproom sales.
“We’ll do growler fills, and we’ll do some bottle releases. But as far as large-scale distribution or anything, that’s not our business model,” Emerson told Memphis Beer Blog. “Our focus is going to be just here in Collierville at the taproom.”
At some point, Maroon Brew could self-distribute a small amount, but not at the start.
Emerson said Maroon Brew will have some core beers, such as a blonde ale, amber ale and wheat beer, and then will cycle in other beers — “a little of everything.”
“I think that’s the fun part of a brewpub, you can kind of brew whatever,” she said.
Emerson and her husband are parents to two young kids, and she said Maroon Brew will cater to families. She envisions Maroon Brew to be the kind of place to stop in for a beer and hot dog after a soccer game or softball game.
“We’ve traveled all over the world to different breweries, from the U.S. to Austria and Germany. Wherever we can find a brewery, that’s our happy spot,” Emerson said.
“Being parents ourselves, we know that there’s not a ton of things to do with your kids. And our kids have spent … I don’t know how many hours at different taprooms. We’ll just go and have a flight and we’ll play board games.
“So we wanted to bring that to Collierville.”
From homebrewer to brewpub owner
Emerson and her husband, Gerald, started homebrewing about 10 years ago and caught the brewing bug.
She worked at a software company for more than 13 years, but, in 2021, decided to make a change.
Emerson left her job and joined Hook Point Brewing Co., Collierville’s first and only brewery, at least for now.
Emerson started as a brewing assistant at Hook Point, but worked her way up to head of production and operations. She left there in June.
“It’s the best experience I could have had because I was doing everything, from the scheduling to the ordering to whatever. So I built up a lot of relationships with vendors, learned how to manage the ebb and flow of production, and how that needs to run,” Emerson said.
“I learned pretty much everything I could. I mean, you never know everything, but enough to run my own place, for sure.”
While Hook Point’s production brewery is located in Collierville, plans to open a Collierville taproom a few years ago hit a roadblock. A town ordinance requiring businesses that serve alcohol to derive 50 percent of their sales from food forced the brewery to look elsewhere to open its taproom. Earlier this year, Hook Point’s Ready Room taproom finally opened in East Memphis.
The ordinance, still in effect, won’t keep Maroon Brew from opening in Collierville.
Emerson said that while she hopes to work with town officials to “eventually” adjust that requirement, “for now, that’s what we’ve got to abide by, and that’s what we’re going to do.”
“We’re going to have gourmet hot dogs … we’re going to have some shareable plates — pretzels, tater tots, french fries,” she said.
“We’re going to have kids’ meals with kids’ toys, and just do what we can to maximize our food sales.”
Focus on Collierville
Emerson and her husband are Collierville residents. He grew up in the town. Their children go to Collierville schools.
Emerson wants her brewpub to be a community gathering spot.
Maroon Brew’s logo features Collierville’s town square gazebo, as well as the water tower, topped with a hop. The maroon color — in the logo and brewery name — is a nod to the main color for Collierville’s schools.
“We want to be 100% community focused, and so the Dragons’ color, the Collierville color, it’s maroon. Our beer names, the ones that are named, they’ll be focused on Collierville and the town. We’ve got some fun names that we’ve talked about that hit some cool history points out here,” Emerson said.
“We’ve built into our budget to be able to give back to different non-profits. We just want to be a good community member.”
Logistics and timing
The seed for Maroon Brew was planted awhile ago, but Emerson has been working in earnest for nearly a year to make it a reality.
She already has a business tax license and beer manufacturer certificate.
This week, she’s planning to submit a Brewer’s Notice application with the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, or TTB. She’s also submitting permits with the Collierville planning office to begin building out the space.
“We’ve already gone through the complete bid process and have everything set. … As soon as those permits are filed with the town, I think next week is a realistic time to be starting (construction),” she said.
Emerson expects to have brewing equipment by December, and thinks construction will take about six months. If all goes well, that would mean a spring opening.
During construction, Emerson plans to take her social media followers along for the ride.
“I’m going to try and bring everyone along on our socials to see how the process goes. Where are we? What are we doing? What does it look like now? That kind of stuff,” she said.