Craft brewery headed for South Nashville – The Tennessean

Nashville’s growing list of craft breweries is set to get a new player in early 2016: New Heights Brewing Co.

The brewery, slated for 928 Fifth Ave. S., is the brainchild of Tracey and Jeff Fountain, who are from Alabama and most recently lived in San Diego until relocating to Nashville in January 2014.

Jeff Fountain left his job in the financial services industry to pursue his passion for craft beer. He worked at the award-winning Mission Brewery in San Diego, and he learned from seasoned California brewers through his homebrew connections.

“Six months after getting my homebrew kit, I quit work, my 15-year career, and I was volunteering in breweries until finally I worked my way up to brewing,” Jeff Fountain said.

After deciding to open their own brewery and move closer to family, the Fountains toured several Southern cities before landing in Music City. They looked at real estate for about eight months before signing a lease for the 7,500-square-foot building on Fifth Avenue South.

“We loved (Nashville). We loved the vibe and everything about it,” said Tracey Fountain, who works full time for Microsoft.

Their goal for New Heights Brewing Co. is to be a production brewery with distribution focused in Middle Tennessee in the first year. Eventually, they would like to expand distribution to other states.

New Heights will have a taproom that probably will open to the public a couple of months after the brewery is operational, Tracey Fountain said.

Jeff Fountain described New Heights’ brews as “big and bold.” He’s a fan of West Coast-style IPAs packed with flavor.

“Definitely coming from San Diego, we are going to do San Diego-based styles. Bigger, bolder beers but as well as bold flavor session beers. … We’ll have things that are easy drinking, hot summer day beers to IPAs that are pretty hoppy,” Jeff Fountain said.

Although living in San Diego, a beer mecca, spurred Jeff Fountain’s love of craft brews, he said it’s an exciting time for Nashville’s craft beer industry.

Three new breweries are preparing to open in East Nashville, French Landing Brewing Co. is slated for Church Street, while Fat Bottom Brewery plans a move and major expansion to The Nations. Meanwhile, existing craft breweries such as Yazoo Brewing Co., Jackalope Brewing Co. and Blackstone are experiencing significant growth.

With 39 craft breweries, Tennessee ranks 29th in the amount of craft beer produced per year, according to data from the Brewers Association.

“We’re kind of on that cusp of riding the wave, between the existing breweries already here and the new wave coming in,” Jeff Fountain said. “I think it’s exciting to see what’s going to happen.”

Tracey Fountain added: “I think Nashville has the opportunity to define what it wants to be in the beer industry. We’re not known for one thing. We’re known for a lot of breweries that are up and coming.”

The Fountains are working with friends Dustin and Katy DeWinter to open New Heights. Bradley Development also is working on the project.

Reach Lizzy Alfs at 615-726-5948 and on Twitter @lizzyalfs.