Regional Commission Success Stories: Microbrewery in Valdosta: Georgia Beer Company

Georgia’s 12 regional commissions are public agencies created and established by the Georgia Planning Act (O.C.G.A. 50-8-32) to assist local governments on a regional basis and to develop, promote, and assist in establishing coordinated and comprehensive planning in the state. The Department of Community Affairs contracts annually with the Regional Commissions to primarily foster effective local and regional planning and implementation of those plans. Our Regional Commissions “Success Story” series highlights these regions by sharing their incredible achievements. You can view all of the communities on our Story Map

The City of Valdosta was approached by entrepreneurs desiring to establish a microbrewery in one of the three potential cities in southern Georgia or northern Florida. The potential small business owners met with the city staff to discuss renovating the former Waterworks building that was constructed in 1900. 

In a collaboration with the business partners, Valdosta-Lowndes County Development Authority, and the Small Business Development Center, a business plan and pro forma were developed. This allowed investors to assist with the city’s efforts in redeveloping the 7,400-square-foot building which was originally constructed to mimic Italian Renaissance architecture. 

Located west of the Valdosta Main Street downtown area in the Centra Business District, the building is within the Valdosta Historic District. In addition, the property sits within the Community Activity Center Character Area in the Comprehensive Plan with a Community Commercial Zoning district that permits microbreweries bottling less than 15,000 barrels of beer per year. 

The Georgia Beer Company opened its taproom and beer garden in 2019 and seeks to utilize as many Georgia-grown ingredients as possible in their many varieties of beer. 

Today, the presence of the microbrewery in the main street and downtown area has been an indicator of a healthy local economy. With the microbrewery, local citizens are employed, craft beer tourism is enabled, and in-migration of new residents is encouraged.