LAWRENCEVILLE — Lawrenceville’s City Council unanimously granted the first step in turning a 106-year-old building next to the old train depot into the first beer brewery in both the city and Gwinnett County.
Heading up the project at 407 N. Clayton St. is Marty Mazzawi, a dentist from a family of dentists in the county, and his brother-in-law, John Reynolds, a craft beer fan. Mazzawi had been operating a coffee shop in North Carolina, and wanted to bring the two drinks together, thus Slowdown Brewing Company was born.
The special-use permit was recommended by both the city’s planning department and planning commission, and Community Development Director Lisa Sherman worked with Mazzawi on the project.
“The city has had a willingness to work with us in this area which needs rebuilding,” Attorney Jody Campbell said. “It’s getting a much-needed face-lift and brings re-development to this area.”
“We were given a business plan, and we were quite impressed with it,” said Mayor Judy Johnson during the Wednesday night public hearing. “It had a sense of pride in the City of Lawrenceville.”
Campbell said they would need to focus on three levels: federal, state and local, with rezoning into the Light Manufacturing district the first step.
If the brewery jumps through the state and federal hoops, such as business plans and tax audits, the owners want to open a 3,000-square-foot tasting room where visitors can sample the craft beers following a tour of the facility. Georgia law says it OK to serve alcohol to visitors, but it must be part of a tour.
According to the Georgia Craft Brewers Guild, there are about 30 breweries in the Atlanta area, 44 across Georgia, but this would be the first in Gwinnett County.
Good IPA’s, brown ales, blondes and Belgian-style tripels will be offered at the brewery, Mazzawi said.
He added that he wants to mainly concentrate their brand in the city, then hopefully be featured in restaurants like McCray’s Tavern, Local Republic and Universal Joint.
In other business, the council:
• Recognized the men’s and women’s tennis teams of Georgia Gwinnett College in Lawrenceville which both won national championships in 2016 at a tournament recently held in Mobile, Ala.