After almost two years of planning, designing, and building; Elkmont Exchange | Brewery & Eating House is closing in on its opening date. The time has seemed to fly by for many of us in a ceaseless blur and roller coaster of emotions. It has been quite the journey thus far and we would not have been able to make our vision a reality without the support, confidence, and dedication of our community and nationwide partners. This blog post is a toast to them.
Disclaimer: This blog post will be best appreciated after knowing our Story.
From the inception of Elkmont Exchange in 2015, our Founders, Alex, Ryan, and Bethany, were still living in Vietnam working at Pasteur Street Brewing Company. Alex and Ryan were able to call upon their longstanding friend, Joe Fox, to seek out potential neighborhoods and locations for their brewpub in planning. Joe, along with his property management group SMJT, advised that the North Knoxville area was the perfect location for the Brewery & Eating House. The Founders were already very familiar with North Knoxville after many late nights at Central Flats & Taps with old friends on their previous visits to Knoxville. SMJT recently acquired the building which was previously home to Rentals Rentals at 745 North Broadway, and upon their return to Knoxville in the Spring of 2016, our Founders unanimously decided that there wasn’t a more perfect location. SMJT not only provided a location for Elkmont Exchange; they also connected Alex with Mountain Commerce Bank, assisted with sourcing funds for the concept, and personally networked our Founders throughout Knoxville. We would like to thank all of our investors and Mountain Commerce Bank for making Elkmont Exchange financially attainable and believing in us throughout the way.
As we built our business plan, raised funds, and moved on to the architectural design of Elkmont Exchange; we were lucky enough to find Brett Honeycutt. His experience with brewery design was put to a challenge with such a large scale project. Brett’s determination to get things done the right way, in the way we envisioned them, and ability to work on a tight schedule has blown our minds time and time again. He brought Nathan Honeycutt, Peter Osickey, and Hannah Starnes from award winning McCarty Holsaple McCarty (MHM) on board to consult with executing our creativity with design. One of MHM’s largest contributions to Elkmont Exchange has been the design of the awe-inspiring facade. Fabricated by local metal worker Bower Bird Sculpture, the idea for the Elkmont Exchange facade comes from the town of Elkmont, TN and the historic cottages that helped the Great Smoky Mountains integrate into the National Park system. Bower Bird Sculpture is not the only local artist that has created custom finishings for 745 North Broadway. All of our tables were designed and built right next door by Rowlette Designs using local hickory and oak. Bird on the Wire Studios also called upon the Smokys for many of our custom finishings. Locally celebrated photographer, Bruce McCamish, has given us the rights to use his shots of the Smoky Mountains on our website and in our space as well.
As you can most likely tell, The Great Smoky Mountains and the historic town of Elkmont have been one of the greatest inspirations for building Elkmont Exchange. While the town is not the direct focus for us, what it represents definitely is. The Wonderland Hotel and Appalachian Club provided Elkmont with a destination for hikers, hunters, and fishermen to gather in the early 1900’s. We look to provide Knoxville with the ability to enjoy a piece of the outdoors in a similar way to what these memorable clubs and cabins once supplied to outdoor enthusiasts. Cheers to those who understood and adopted our vision for Elkmont Exchange and applied their passions to make our space so special.
Obviously brewing beer is one of the most important factors of opening a brewery and that process has been an adventure on its own. As excited as we are to tell the story of our shiny new brewhouse, that story will be one for a later post. We are overjoyed to be joining such a special craft beer community in Knoxville. The amount of friendship and camaraderie that can be found between brewers, business owners, and marketers reaches to the core of what craft beer really is. What’s a beer if you don’t have someone to share it with? We would like to thank Knoxville and all of our friends (old and new) that we have found within the city’s rapidly growing craft beer scene. We would also like to thank Visit Knoxville and Knox Brew Tours for constantly believing in the local beer community and helping us grow.
Ok, so I know if this were an award show, the music would have cued for me to get off of the stage a long time ago. This is the end, I promise.
We are lucky to have found such a tenacious, driven and talented team. These people have uprooted their lives, spent countless hours working to pull off this project, and still believe in us. What a journey Elkmont Exchange has been for us so far, and we know this is just the beginning.
Oh, and thanks to you for reading this.