Last spring, a group of friends and business partners threw a two-month-long party in the rustic courtyard of the long-vacant Tennessee Brewery with one mission (okay, two missions) — to save the threatened building from demolition (and to sell craft beer).
Untapped was so successful that it's making a comeback this week as The Revival. The beer garden will be open in the old brewery every Thursday through Sunday from April 9th to May 31st.
But this go-round is less about saving the building and more about celebrating the fact that the brewery will soon see new life. Shortly after Untapped ended last year, cell phone tower developer/Shelby County Schools board member Billy Orgel stepped up and purchased the former Goldcrest 51 beer factory. He plans to renovate the building and turn it into apartments.
But his son Benjamin Orgel, a Memphian who recently graduated from the University of Texas, thought there should be one last big party in the brewery before construction begins. So he enlisted the help of his friends Logan Scheidt and Paul Stephens, also recent college grads, and the three are bringing back the spring pop-up party, complete with 22 beer taps, rotating food trucks, live music, live artist demonstrations, and more.
"When I got back to Memphis from Austin, I said, 'I want to do something to help the city.' I love Memphis and everything about it," Benjamin said. "This was the perfect opportunity. Yes, it's a business, and we're selling beer. But more than that, this is about community."
Although The Revival will be very similar to last year's Untapped event, Benjamin said they've stepped it up a bit for round two.
"Last year, the event was so successful because it was in a building that needed to be saved. People were saying, 'Buy this building.' So we did, and we understand that means we had to make some improvements," Benjamin said.
Those improvements include turning the courtyard beer garden into an actual garden filled with greenery from Pettit's Lawnscapes. They're also opening up the indoor staircase room, which was sealed off last year. In that room, which they're calling the Atrium, artists will hold live painting demonstrations. There will also be a piano in that room that anyone can play.
The iconic "Invest in Good Times" graffiti (known as Professor Catfish) on the outside of the brewery has moved inside for photo-ops, and a large window stands in its place so patrons can look out over Tennessee Street from inside the building.
Perhaps, most importantly, last year's festival-style porta-potties will be replaced with portable restroom trailers with running water.
There will be two bars this year — one inside and one outside — and 22 taps, many of which will dispense local beers. Historian Kenn Flemmons, who wrote a book on the brewery's history, has recreated Goldcrest 51 beer using the original recipe, and it will be served at the event. Memphis Made has created a specialty American Pale Ale just for Untapped: Revival called Luke McLuke.
"John Schorr, who owned the brewery, also loved horseracing, and Luke McLuke was his horse that won the Belmont Stakes," said Doug Carpenter, who is handling marketing for Untapped: Revival.
Carpenter was one of four partners who put on the original Untapped last year. The other three — Taylor Berger, Andy Cates, and Michael Tauer — are not involved in this year's event.
Craig Blondis from Central BBQ is handling the food and beverage operations this year. There will be two food trucks parked inside the courtyard daily, as well as some specialty carts.
To appease South Bluffs neighbors, all live music will be acoustic. Acts will be featured on Saturday and Sunday between 3 and 7 p.m.
Untapped: Revival will be open Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.