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Jekyll Brewing Makes Historically Good Beer (Issue 32)

Jekyll Brewing founder and president Michael Lundmark drew upon local Southern history to build Alpharetta, Georgia's first brewery. Just four years later, Jekyll is making its own history – one bottle at a time. 
Jekyll Beer Seven Bridges

In the Beginning

The story begins with Lundmark, a former business developer brewing in his garage as a hobby circa 2012. Readily admitting his recipes needed work, he found himself regularly visiting a local homebrew supply shop and receiving critiques from a knowledgeable young employee. That employee turned out to be award-winning homebrewer Josh Rachel.

After deciding to take the leap from financial security into the depths of pint-making in 2012, Lundmark lined up investors and approached Rachel to join as Jekyll’s brewmaster. Though he’d been pitched before, Rachel agreed. In 2016, he would become a bon-a-fide Great American Beer Festival medalist after taking home a silver for Jekyll’s Seven Bridges, a German-style Maerzen.

Almost immediately after, Jekyll’s main investor backed out, leaving the pair scrambling to make up the difference. Rolling with the punches, the pair decided to become co-owners and set out raising the money from friends, family and a Kickstarter campaign.

Beginning late January of 2013 and running for 28 days, the Kickstarter raised around $35,000. Despite limited funds and continuous adversity, Jekyll was now a reality.

Josh Rachel and Michael Lundmark

Jekyll's co-owners in the early days. Josh Rachel (left) is brewmaster and Michael Lundmark is president.

Beer and Now

In person, Jekyll’s owners are easygoing, relaxed and eager to share the brewery’s backstory. As described in fascinating detail by Lundmark, the brewery draws its name from Georgia’s Jekyll Island, which is believed to have housed the Deep South’s first brewery. Back in 1738, Major William Horton founded a brewery on Jekyll Island as a means for clean water for Georgia’s colonists. You can read the full story here, colorfully related by none other than Lundmark himself.

Lundmark and Rachel also exude a mix of what might be described as pleasant intensity and dogged resolve. These are family men who have wholly dedicated themselves to their business. As a result, their work and lives are one, and their employees are extended family.

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