Plans to open Gainesville’s first microbrewery in the midtown district are no more.
But fear not, craft beer lovers — Left Nut Brewing Co. is still coming to the city.
Owner Pap Datta, a Forsyth County resident and former Hewlett-Packard executive, said he signed a lease Friday on a 19,000-square-foot building in the Chicopee Mill industrial area.
Datta will need to receive a special use permit from the city, which had been approved for the midtown location.
The Gainesville Planning and Appeals Board will hear this request next month and the City Council likely will vote on the matter in early April.
Datta will also need brewing licenses before production can begin.
But without further delays, Datta said he hopes to have the brewery open and operational by late May.
Datta said the original location eyed for the brewery, along Maple Street near Wild Wing Café, had a lot going for it, including its proximity to the downtown square.
“However, we just couldn’t reach terms with the landlords,” Datta said. He added that after lengthy negotiations, it became apparent the owner of the building had different business needs than Datta.
“It just didn’t work out,” Datta said. “As a startup, we have a finite amount of resources we can dedicate to our facility. And then we have to focus on being able to produce beer.”
Meanwhile, the location on Chicopee Mill Road was always a plan B option, Datta said, and he’s satisfied that this is where his brewery will call home.
Datta will occupy a former Johnson & Johnson administration building, which has been vacant for many years.
“It does need a lot of extensive work inside,” Datta said, but added that the building has a great layout and presents many options for future growth and expansion. “We will probably have the most beautiful brewery building in the state of Georgia.”
The brewery will offer tours and tastings, and core offerings will include various blondes, ales and lagers.
Datta said he wants his beers to reflect the local region. He plans to use local ingredients, such as fruits and honey, in his recipes.
Datta said he doesn’t think beer aficionados and enthusiasts will be deterred from visiting the Chicopee Mill location, even if it’s outside the main retail and commercial centers of the city.
Moreover, Datta said he believes the location will be a draw to tourists and visitors from metro Atlanta counties because of it’s easy access to and from Interstate 985.
Datta said he also likes being located along the Atlanta Highway corridor, perhaps Hall County’s most culturally and ethnically diverse area.
Datta said operating the brewery as a socially conscious and responsible business is important to him. He hopes to engage with community organizations and help foster Gainesville as a great place to live, work, play and drink fine beer.
“I think we can create a very powerful story,” he said, “just as powerful, maybe even more so, than at our original location.”