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The East Atlanta Village (EAV), with its heavy foot traffic and Rock n’ Roll community, was the perfect place for brewer Jeffrey Oparnica to open the “first” direct-to-consumer brewery in Atlanta. He leased the space for his heavy metal-themed brewery, Sabbath Brewing, in May of 2018.
Despite hiring a lawyer to look over his lease, Oparnica immediately ran into two legal hurdles.
After signing the lease, Oparnica learned that you cannot operate a brewery within 300 feet of a tattoo parlor. His location was 200 feet away from a tattoo parlor. He also learned that in Atlanta, you are not allowed to have a manufacturing brewery in a commercially zoned area like the area he had planned to operate in.
So Oparnica fought to change the laws. On April 20, 2020, almost two years after signing his lease, the city council passed legislation that allows microbreweries and distilleries to operate under a special use permit. Finally legally cleared to operate, Oparnica just has to acquire the needed permits. He expects to open Sabbath’s doors by September.
“It’s actually interesting that I’m getting ready to open in the next couple of months, and the tattoo parlor in question just went out of business a month ago,” he said.
After the long wait, the EAV community will finally get to try the long-awaited ale that Sabbath Brewery offers. Described as a “nanobrewery,” Sabbath Brewery will focus on a constantly rotating selection of yeast-forward, rustic ales that have been fermented in oak barrels.
“We are not going to have a flagship beer,” Oparnica said. “There’s no core line-up. There are six taps and every time you come in, there’s a new beer, because every beer we brew is a new recipe.”
The space itself is “occult-y. On the inside there’s church pews and the taps are old church organs. It’s kind of sacrilegious-y,” Opaernica said.
Down the line, Opernica wants to establish an offsite production facility that can supply the EAV location, which will clear space in that location for a brewpub. Opernica says that he wants to eventually make that space one where, when people visit the Village, they come to Sabbath.
Tying the beer to its surroundings, the first beer that Sabbath is releasing is a lager called the “Villager.”