Blackbird Farms Brewery closing in Lilburn after two years

Credit: Bob Townsend

Credit: Bob Townsend

Craft brewery Blackbird Farms Brewery is closing in Lilburn after just over two years.

The closure was announced on the brewery’s Facebook page.

“It took every penny we had to open the doors which left us with no money for marketing, distribution and special events,” the statement read. “Unfortunately, we are simply out of money and not busy enough to pay our bills.”

The statement also referenced a cost-prohibitive permit needed from the Gwinnett County Health Department to continue operating.

Matt Williams, a longtime Atlanta brewer, brewery consultant and beverage professional, opened the brewery at 4098 Lawrenceville Highway in early 2021.

At the time, he told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution beer writer Bob Townsend that the farm in the brewery’s name was aspirational.

“It’s not a farm, yet, but we think that’s coming,” he said. “We’d like to have a farm location up in North Georgia somewhere, either on a small scale like this, or a full production facility. But, the market will tell us if that’s appropriate, or not.”

The name was also a nod to the ingredients used in brewing the beers, including foraged herbs, flowers and fruit.

Beers brewed on the five-barrel system include Yellow River Wheat, Part Time Genius Hazy IPA, and an amber lager, called Georgia Airport Beer, made with Vienna malt.

Credit: Bob Townsend

Credit: Bob Townsend

“Style-wise, we’re going to do everything,” Williams said in 2021. “We’ll have sours, New England and hazy IPAs, and everything else. I brewed for other people for a long time, and I’m excited to get all these beers that I created over the years in one place. That’s going to be a lot of fun for me, because, really, it’s all about the beer.”

Blackberry Farms is one of several metro Atlanta craft breweries to close in 2023, including Anderby Brewing, Candler Rail Brewery, Orpheus Brewing and Second Self Beer Co.

Atlanta Brewing Company, Atlanta’s oldest craft brewery, scrapped plans to reopen in the Underground Atlanta development after closing its original Upper Westside location in 2022, while Burnt Hickory Brewing closed its location in Kennesaw with plans to relocate.

“The brewery closures really highlight the sense of urgency in the industry,” Joseph Cortes, the executive director of Georgia Craft Brewers Guild, told the AJC earlier this year. “I think it’s pretty easy to say that none of these breweries closed for one single reason. But I think it’s also pretty easy to say that small breweries in Georgia operate in a highly restrictive system.

“In fact, it still remains one of the most restrictive systems of regulation nationwide.”

Williams did not immediately respond to the AJC’s request for more information.

Sign up for the AJC Food and Dining Newsletter

Read more stories like this by liking Atlanta Restaurant Scene on Facebook, following @ATLDiningNews on Twitter and @ajcdining on Instagram.