Louisville’s craft beer scene in the 90s was grayer than Aunt Claudine’s thinning hair.
Every pale ale was a pale ale, every porter was a porter and so on and so forth. It was different then, but truth be told that’s where the tale of Against the Grain begins. Jerry Gnagy, Sam Cruz, Adam Watson, and Andrew Ott found themselves working at one of the grayest Louisville breweries of all time doing what they loved but not the way they wanted.
Fed up and dissatisfied with the brewing status quo they banded together and drew up a business plan on a yellow legal pad. It wasn’t the best, but they found out early on they had a knack for taking something shitty and making it the shiniest turd in all the land. More importantly, they found they had the drive collectively to make beer better.
With determination, a few fart jokes and a handful of investors, they opened the doors to Louisville’s first brewer-owned and operated brewery in 2011: Against the Grain Brewery and Smokehouse. The 15-barrel, Victorian style brewhouse and Southern-inspired smokehouse became a vessel for innovation. They invited color to the grayscale brewing culture and changed the way beer was viewed in Louisville. They brewed an array of diverse beers categorized by six main styles: Session, Hop, Whim, Malt, Dark, and Smoke. The categories ensured the beer would never be boring and they would never be bored.
For the next four years sleep was a luxury, showering a distant dream, and a balanced diet was a cracker with mustard. They championed the belief that you deserve more than the mainstream. You deserve quality beer with an irreverent, crude name, but also the merit of liquid to laugh in the face of naysayers who have a hard time saying “fart”, “boob”, and, of course, “nipple.” They insisted and proved amazing beer could be fun, not stuffy or too proper for a rowdy time.
By 2015, the culture of beer was growing and the brewpub began to feel the growing pains. It was time to expand. The partners opened a three-vessel, 30-barrel brewhouse 20 blocks away from the pub in downtown Louisville. The facility was to act as the production arm of Against the Grain. They increased production by 400% and began canning brands to adorn shelves around the world. Today you can find Against the Grain in up to 43 states in the U.S., upwards of 25 countries around the world, and, of course, right here at home in Louisville, KY.