by Scott Sutton

A dream finally came true in 2011. Bailey Spaulding opened the doors to the first female-owned brewery in Tennessee, none other than Nashville’s own Jackalope Brewery.

It was a crazy route that brought Bailey to our city. Originally from Vermont, Bailey attended Harvard, studying Biological Anthropology.  Crazy right? After Harvard she decided she wanted a new adventure outside of New England and applied to law school, choosing Vanderbilt over Duke, University of Virginia and Washington and Lee. “I felt like Nashville had something special about it, and it was kind of a secret at that point.”  

When she got here she started experimenting in homebrewing. “I was looking for new flavors, new styles. This was in 2006, so a lot has changed since then. The very first recipe I wrote was what turned out to become Bearwalker, which is our most popular beer and the top seller for Bounty Bev, our Nashville distributor.”

After graduating from Vanderbilt Law School in 2009, Bailey stayed in Nashville to open what would become the 8th Ave. location of Jackalope. In 2011, the stars aligned and Jackalope Brewing put out their first batch of beer. The doors officially opened on May 21st of 2011 with a SABCO Brew-Magic ½ barrel system.

In the early days, Jackalope only opened their taproom doors on Fridays from 4-8. “Our hours were very limited at first because our system was so small — that was all we could be open for without running out of beer!” The very first beers offered in the taproom were what would become Nashville staples; Thunder Ann, Rompo, Bearwalker and their first seasonal beer, an English style ESB called Bitter Over Ewe. It’s pretty safe to say Jackalope might have some of the most inventive names for beers now. Offering seasonals such as Casper the Friendly Gose, Snowman Stout, Seven Cities and the one that keeps Nashville beer folks geeked-out, Lovebird strawberry/raspberry hefeweizen.  

Jackalope finally expanded their ½ barrel system to a 15 barrel system and began distributing on January 9th of 2012. They rapidly outgrew their first SABCO system and are now outgrowing their 15 barrel system on 8th Avenue. Lucky for us there is more expansion in the works.

Bailey and partner Steve Wright have announced that they will be opening a second facility on Houston Street near the Woodbine area. “Last year we brewed 2100 barrels of Bearwalker. Right now we only distribute to Memphis, Chattanooga and Nashville, with our distributing being with Bounty Bev here. This new facility will give us the space to brew enough to distribute statewide. We will be able to expand our barrel aging program at the original location and create some more experimental brews. One of the things I am most excited about is our new flash pasteurizer for the Houston Street location, which we’ll be using to allow us to can Bearwalker, finally. Up until now it has been draft only since it has to be constantly refrigerated because of our addition of pure Vermont maple syrup.”  (That’s right Nashville. Bearwalker is going to be canned soon. If that doesn’t get you excited I don’t know what would!)

“While we are extremely excited that we will be able to produce enough beer to cover the whole state of Tennessee, our roots will always be here in Nashville. Our focus for growth is on the quality of our beer. We are investing in some new technology now for the new brewery that will help us maintain our consistency. We also always want to be known for our community involvement. We don’t want to just make beer in Nashville.  We want to be part of the fabric of our amazing city.”

Whether it’s brewing beer, hosting fundraisers, giving tours or just being out in the community doing what she can to make Nashville awesome, it’s plain to see we lucked out with her decision to come to Vanderbilt. Not only do we have a landmark brewery and staple of the Nashville beer scene, we have an amazing woman leading the way in Bailey Spaulding.  

Congratulations from all of us as a city Bailey. It’s been great watching you grow and we can’t wait to see what the future holds. Keep up the amazing work! We all will continue to relish in the fact that not only do you call Nashville home but we can proudly say you are one of us.  

Jackalope Brewing Company’s current location is 701 8th Ave. South, Nashville TN. 37203.