Beer Town: Wild Leap coming to Centennial Yards in Atlanta this year

The Atlanta beer scene has been experiencing a major growth spurt over the past few years — with a spate of new breweries opening, and established breweries expanding with additional locations and taprooms.

Among the most ambitious: Monday Night Garage and Wild Heaven West End, Three Taverns Imaginarium on Memorial Drive, and Scofflaw’s Dr. Scofflaw’s at the Works.

But last week, Wild Leap managed to up the ante with the announcement that it is building out a 15,340-square-foot brewery, distillery and taproom in downtown Atlanta, slated to open in fall 2021.

The project will anchor a section of the 50-acre Centennial Yards development, spanning two levels at 125 Ted Turner Drive, in a space that will include multiple bars, outdoor seating, lounge areas and event spaces.

ExploreAtlanta beer and cocktail news

Now known as Wild Leap Craft Beverages, the company opened its first brewery in September 2017, in the old Westbrook Service & Tire Co. building, near downtown LaGrange.

Since then, co-founders Anthony Rodriguez, Rob Goldstein and Chris Elliott have expanded into distilling, with Wild Leap Vodka, and ready-to-drink vodka-based cocktails in cans.

Shortly after the Wild Leap Atlanta announcement, I talked with Rodriguez and Goldstein, who revealed that opening somewhere in the city had always been a goal.

“Frankly, this has been in the works for a long time,” Goldstein said. “We had planned to open prior to COVID happening, but everything happens for a reason, and we think the timing of this is really, really great.”

“We actually started in a different part of the project, and were able to move to a part that was better for a brewery, and brings us closer to the walking portion of the project,” Rodriguez said. “We were able to fill a very large portion of the retail side of that particular building — as well as the bridge that’s going to be built to connect to the other side of the Gulch, to reach Mercedes-Benz Stadium, and State Farm Arena, as well.”

The details are still being worked out, but some 4,000 square feet will be dedicated to the Atlanta brewery operation. The LaGrange brewery just underwent a major expansion, with additional cellar capacity. And there’s another LaGrange location in the works that will be the “next venture” for Wild Leap.

“We’ll be producing a much smaller quantity of beer at the Atlanta location; some of it will go out to distribution, but our main barrelage will come from LaGrange,” Rodriguez said.

Credit: DBOX

Credit: DBOX

Speaking to the growth of Wild Leap, Goldstein noted that the company had undergone five expansions since 2017, with the most recent one the largest.

“We’re truly grateful to have been able to grow at this rate over the course of the last three-and-a half-plus years,” he said. “And even with the pandemic, that didn’t really stop the momentum, but for a few weeks.

“We started with a 30-barrel brewhouse, so adding tanks was a whole lot more efficient than having to scramble to buy a bigger one. That’s really been a key driver for us being able to grow at this rate.”

Though Atlanta Wild Leap is all about the future of the company, like the LaGrange brewery, it has roots in the past, Goldstein explained.

“We heard about the redevelopment of the Gulch, and we knew that was something that could be really unique, and something we want to be a part,” he said. “The LaGrange building that we’re in is a historic building that we were able to save from demolition and renovate.

“We’re thrilled to be able to have that as our home base. It will be a similar opportunity with redeveloping what used to be the Norfolk Southern headquarters into a centerpiece of this whole $5 billion development in Atlanta.”

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