Downtown Suwanee brewery to open in old Gwinnett fire station

Suwanee Town Center Park, as seen in 2014. FILE PHOTO



Suwanee Town Center Park, as seen in 2014. FILE PHOTO

A Suwanee firehouse will soon become a brewery.

Gwinnett County Fire Station 13, across Buford Highway from Suwanee Town Center, will close in April, allowing StillFire Brewing to move in. The brewery, expected to open in the fall, will be run by longtime Suwanee residents.

The city realized months ago that improvements Gwinnett County Fire and Emergency Services wanted in Station 13 would simply not fit in the building, said Adam Edge, Suwanee’s downtown development and business manager.

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The county is building a new station about two miles from its current location, near the intersection of Buford Highway and Westbrook Road. Suwanee won’t see gaps in fire service during its construction, Edge said.

Once it was clear the fire department would have to move, the Veugeler Design Group expressed interest in turning the building into a brewery, Edge said. The group is run by Randall and Angela Veugeler, who also put on Suwanee Beer Fest and founded Suwanee Magazine.

The city’s downtown development authority is leasing the land and building to StillFire Brewing for three years, with an option to purchase set to kick in at the end of the lease, Edge said. The brewery’s backers will refurbish the building’s interior, the cost of which will be offset by $35,000 in pro-rated rent, according to Edge.

The taproom will feature “an always-changing selection of 18 original craft beers on tap,” said a StillFire Facebook post. The brewery’s 20-barrel system will be operated by brewmaster Phil Farrell, who has won the prestigious gold medal at the U.S. Open Beer Championship as a homebrewer and is a grand master beer judge, qualifying him to judge beers at prestigious contests around the world.

The fire station is important to city leaders because of its age and central location.

“Because this buidling is so meaningful … the city council was only comfortable selling it once they could see someone could operate it properly,” Edge said. “Before we sold it outright to somebody we wanted to make sure they would operate it well and provide quality service.”

The location will also allow the brewery’s patrons to relax outdoors and connect them to the rest of Town Center, which features walking paths, a splash pad, restaurants and retail shops.

“We view the location as similar to the Beltline in Atlanta, a large green space with lots of room for activities where an outdoor destination brewery would help bring people together in such a cool spot,” said Aaron Bisges, StillFire’s general manager. “There is nothing really like this in the close vicinity, and we thought it was a good time to give Suwanee a brewery to call their own.”

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