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5 World of Beer franchises coming to Alabama

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aubiecat

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BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- An investor opening five World of Beer franchise locations in Alabama said the first could appear in Birmingham by the end of August, now that a lease has been signed.

Rayford Cook, the operations manager and vice president for the company planning the Alabama locations, said a group of eight investors is planning to open three franchise locations in Birmingham and the other two in to-be-determined locations such as Huntsville, Tuscaloosa or Auburn. Along with Cook, another investor is Birmingham businessman Ward Drennen, whose family last year sold its century-old auto dealership in Hoover.

Cook will attend a Birmingham Design Review Committee meeting this morning at which drawings of the renovation plan and the bar's sign will be considered. Ralph Schuler of JVB Architect is listed as the project architect.

Cook, who moved to Birmingham in December, said the bar in Five Points South will offer around 50 beers on tap and as many as 600 bottled varieties The establishment won't serve food, but will allows patrons to carry in food from other restaurants. It will be 3,200 square feet of space, along with an outdoor patio and courtyard space.

World of Beer will be located at 1005 20th St. South and have live music three to six nights a week. The space it will occupy has been vacant for at least six years, since the former Halfshells Oyster Bar & Grill closed.

Cook said progress made by Alabama beer consumer advocacy groups such as Free the Hops, a grassroots organization that backed legislation to boost maximum beer alcohol limits, and the growing number of local craft beer brewers have helped to make the timing right for World of Beer.

"It's a great opportunity to be coming into Alabama, just because of the (beer) movement and all the change in laws that haven't been changed for many years," Cook said.

The investment group began its planning for the World of Beer location in November. Cook moved to Birmingham with aspirations of starting his own restaurant, after working as managing partner at Bonefish Grill in Frederick, Md., for eight years. Before that, the Marion native worked as a bartender at Outback Steakhouse in Birmingham and as a beverage and hospitality manager at Red Lobster in Jacksonville.

The opportunity presented by the World of Beer plan seemed right, he said.

"It's such a great opportunity in something I care about, with craft beers and music," he said. "I had to hop on board. I felt like it was fate."

As part of his training for the new venture, Cook was sent to Tampa, the headquarters of World of Beer, for a training program, where he learned about beer styles, the brewing process, history, names and ingredients. Two weeks was spent in a classroom, and the other three in a World of Beer location in Ft. Myers.

The company, founded in Tampa in 2007, has 24 locations, mostly in Florida.

The World of Beer in Five Points South will be located just blocks from The J. Clyde, a well-established bar and restaurant that boasts a large number of beers on draft and in bottles.

Cook thinks there is room for both.

"Business brings business and awareness to our movement in craft beers," he said. "I think we'll have a shared business and both will be able to do well."

Retail Specialist broker Bill Clements, the Alabama leasing agent for World of Beer, said he believes the bar is a good fit for Five Points South.
 

homebrewdad

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This is huge. I was just thinking about how the local bar scene is still a wasteland when it comes to variety and quality of beers - this could make a real impact right away.
 
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aubiecat

aubiecat

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I think that is why this state is so far behind in the beer scene because we don't a large craft brew culture here. This is a huge step in the right direction.
 

homebrewdad

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I think that is why this state is so far behind in the beer scene because we don't a large craft brew culture here.
Talk about your understatements. If you go to a bar that has, say, Sam Adams AND Guinness on tap, you are at a beer haven. If they happen to have, say, a Killian's also... wow.

This place would turn all of that on its ear. I don't expect 30 microbrew taps in every bar, but something besides BMC would be nice.
 

uglysofa

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Talk about your understatements. If you go to a bar that has, say, Sam Adams AND Guinness on tap, you are at a beer haven. If they happen to have, say, a Killian's also... wow.

This place would turn all of that on its ear. I don't expect 30 microbrew taps in every bar, but something besides BMC would be nice.

Places like Stillwater, J. Clyde and Rogue Tavern in Birmingham have great draft and bottle lists. You must not be looking hard enough.
 

wailingguitar

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What the hell happened down there? In the mid 90s there were two legit brewpubs in Bham, one sort of (The Mill), two Micros (Red Mountain/Vulcan/Little Star and Southside Cellars), several Multi Taps (Taco Mac, Dave's, etc). Hosted a couple AHA sanctioned events (legal or not, they were big and a lot of fun!), etc. Where did it go that it should have backslid so far?
 

duckredbeard

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What the hell happened down there? In the mid 90s there were two legit brewpubs in Bham, one sort of (The Mill), two Micros (Red Mountain/Vulcan/Little Star and Southside Cellars), several Multi Taps (Taco Mac, Dave's, etc). Hosted a couple AHA sanctioned events (legal or not, they were big and a lot of fun!), etc. Where did it go that it should have backslid so far?
Shout out to the old days...Red Mountain/Vulcan Breweries was my first pro brewing gig. Brewed a Bronze GABF while I was there. Good times.

Attached photo is me and Head Brewer Brad Fournier. I'm holding the clipboard. This must be late 1997, early 1998. I think it was a 30bbl system.
 

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beernutz

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77 World of Beer locations are now down to 50 and the only Alabama location still open is in Tuscaloosa.

I've been to the Pensacola WoB and thought it had good but pricey selection with decent pub food. However there are many local places higher than it on my goto restaurant list.
 

matt_m

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The last 2 Michigan locations near us went out on their own late last year after just a couple years. I'm sure this isn't the whole story but apparently they regularly heard that people didn't know they served food so they rebranded as "Mavericks" with "Kitchen - Drinks - Sports" as their tagline. About the only change we noticed besides signage was the some menu tweaks.
 

Derp

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The WoB franchise in San Antonio closed several years ago under embarrassing circumstances. If memory serves:

They had some sort of event which raised $3000+ for a wounded veterans organization. There were multiple iterations of "the check's in the mail" which eventually ended with a massive name & shame campaign on Facebook. Derogatory posts were flooding in by the second from all over the country and it was a sight to behold. Corporate eventually stepped in and made good with the donation and the store promptly closed. It's been vacant for years. Too bad, because it was a nice place to enjoy a few beers and a cigar before seeing a movie at the neighboring Alamo Drafthouse. I kind of felt bad for the sub and pizza stores which opened nearby, because WoB didn't sell food and the new restaurants were probably expecting a big carryout business.
 
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Snuffy

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Shout out to the old days...Red Mountain/Vulcan Breweries was my first pro brewing gig. Brewed a Bronze GABF while I was there. Good times.

Attached photo is me and Head Brewer Brad Fournier. I'm holding the clipboard. This must be late 1997, early 1998. I think it was a 30bbl system.
Who was it that brewed “Meaning of Life”? That was the best beer in town back-in-the-day.
 

Snuffy

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Attached photo is me and Head Brewer Brad Fournier. I'm holding the clipboard. This must be late 1997, early 1998. I think it was a 30bbl system.
I remember Brad. He was the wine guy at Vestavia Western for a while.
 
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