Blackstone Brewing Company
Premier Nashville brewery reaching new heights
When Stephanie Weans, co-founder, passed away from cancer two years ago, co-owner Kent Taylor quickly realized he faced a quandary with his very successful Nashville, Tennessee brewery.
“I am a CPA by training” he recently recounted, “I was optimally a back-of-the house participant in Blackstone Brewing Company”. Stephanie had the great personality and handled the everyday chores of the brewery. I only realized the great job she had done after she was gone. I also saw the deep mess I was in.”
Fortunately for Taylor, his close friend and master brewer Dave Miller, who had originally helped open the downtown location, was still available for consulting. The pair worked together and developed a plan that would see Blackstone through its troubled time. Included was a farsighted notion to add a new taproom to increase the business’s local visibility while increasing its profitability.
“We opened our new addition last July 1st,” Taylor added. “It has done exactly what we had hoped for. Nashville is really booming and we have taken advantage of that. Dave (Miller) helped me through it all and has remained with us as a brew master emeritus.”
Blackstone Brewing Company has added a new brew master, Josh Garrett, who served a ten-year stint under Miller. His steady hand assures the same quality and correctness to Blackstone’s assortment of beers. Two new additions are Charles Taylor (Kent’s son) and Chase Wilkerson, 27, who is Stephanie Weins’ surviving son.
Blackstone Brewing Company will produce some 14,000 barrels this coming year - almost double the production from when it began operation about 5 ½ years ago. It continues to distribute its award-winning brand on a limited basis, but has plans to increase production as the regional market dictates. Nashville’s ongoing popularity with tourists makes that possibility more than wishful thinking.
“We are still a family operation,” Taylor finalized. “We have a loyal following that is still expanding on a daily basis. We still have the www.stephaniesfight.org site that helps fight cancer and reminds us daily of her great contributions to our brewery. In some ways, she is still here to help me make the right decisions.”
Blackstone Brewing Company is a marvelous example of a brewery faced with serious tragedy while finding a way to move forward towards a bright future.