For co-owners of Memphis Made Brewing Company, Andy Ashby and Drew Barton, starting small has been the key to trying new things. It’s this distinctive approach to innovating, experimenting and testing that has made them one of the most popular breweries in Memphis and the Midsouth.

From building their own canning machine to becoming the first and only brewery to become an eco-conscious, green and sustainable Project Greenfork Certified business, Memphis Made is doing it their way and in style. “In the beginning, I designed and built a canning machine,” said Drew Barton. “I wanted to test the idea first.” Easy for someone with an engineering degree to say, I suppose, but this is the ethos you will find with these guys. A try before they buy approach and a smart one at that.

If you build it, they will come.

Now with a nice response from the Memphis beer-drinking crowd under their belts, they bought a bigger machine to start canning on a larger scale and are featuring several new brews to boot. Beers like the Kickdown, a Belgium style tripel, Mr. Anderson, a barley wine style ale and Slumber Party, an imperial stout. You can also enjoy mainstay Fireside Amber in artfully designed cans as well. Speaking of their art, most graphics and cans are created by artists Weston Notestine and Adam Shellabarger.

Memphis Made first made the scene servicing bars and restaurants with their craft brews before opening their large, warehouse taproom in late 2014 in the Cooper Young Historic District – another test to try the idea of opening up a full service shop.

“In Memphis, we are the only brewery located in the middle of a neighborhood,” said Andy.  “We have a European attitude about the whole thing. We also don’t stay open too late making this a perfect place for families.” Cooper Young is an artsy neighborhood filled with boutique shops, restaurants, galleries and more, and now boasts one of the largest, family-friendly breweries in the city. “We appreciate and encourage the English Pub attitude at Memphis Made. We want a place where people see our taproom as an extension of their living room,” added Drew.

Memphis Made also uses a method that allows them to be creative, nimble and change on the turn of a dime, if the occasion calls for it.

“We have a unique system where we self distribute, something a lot of breweries don’t do,” said Andy Ashby. “We brew it, package it and deliver it in our own van. From production to sales this allows us a lot of flexibility and autonomy.”

If you like live and local music, and a place that cares about its own backyard, Memphis Made hosts many live concerts throughout the year and has raised more than $100,000 for local schools and nonprofits in the area.

“We love working with local charities to help enhance their fundraising efforts – places like Revolutions Community Bicycle Shop – here in the neighborhood,” said Andy. And speaking of bikes, Memphis Made has been named the only certified bike friendly brewery in the city by the league of American Bicyclists. They will also be an Explore Bike Share location come this April and will also host the first-ever Tour de Brewer event.

As for challenges, they have a few, but nothing they can’t use to their advantage.

“We love our space, but would love to change our layout,” said Drew. “Most people don’t know this, but we have to run a fork lift through the tap room most days to become customer facing, but hey that might be cool for some folks to see.”

For more information about Memphis Made Brewing Company, visit their website

Jeff Hulett is a food and drink writer living in Memphis, Tennessee