by Shawn Klumpjan

The backstory of Mayday Brewery doesn’t seem all that different from many other stories on the surface. Humble beginnings, one man’s passion, talent and dreams and a neighborhood garage combine with a family history that has catapulted Mayday Brewery into a highly esteemed family business in Middle Tennessee.

While this is a story as old as time, the narrative changed a little when the newest generation took the helm at Mayday. While years of tradition tell us that business and brewing passes from father to son, for Ozzy Nelson, it was his two daughters, Ashlee Smith and Kelsey Nelson, who were ready to run with the family business.

Fast Growth from Humble Beginnings

Ozzy’s passion for beer and brewing was passed down from his grandfather, but his training in Brewing and Fermentation Sciences at Siebel Institute in Chicago sealed the fate for what would eventually become Mayday Brewery. Applying his craft and learned art of brewing beer upon his return to Nashville, Ozzy began sharing his creations with friends and neighbors. The passion around Ozzy’s brewing quickly grew into a family business, and demand grew exponentially. Ozzy cashed in his 401k and made the move to officially start Mayday Brewery. Since then, the business has grown into a reputable brewery based in Murfreesboro, TN.

Today, with Kelsey as Brewmaster and Ashlee as business manager, Mayday is led by a duo with family history and a love of great beer. With Ozzy’s mentorship and Kelsey and Ashlee’s drive to grow the business, Mayday Brewery has developed a loyal following and has seen substantial increases in distribution of their beers throughout Middle Tennessee, Chattanooga, Knoxville and Tri-Cities.

The inspiration of quality Tennessee beer has permeated the bonds between father and daughters, and the beers exhibit balance and quality that will only get better as the brewery grows and evolves.

We’re All Family Here

Mayday Brewery’s taproom is a fun and vibrant atmosphere flanked with a large patio that borders another room with tables creating a community meeting space that is almost a welcome center for Murfreesboro and MTSU just a few blocks down the street. The brewery is decorated with pictures of the family and friends alongside funky local artwork, both featured for sale as well as permanent installations which create a perfect space for a beer- and music-centric space. Personal experiences and memories are a foundation for a great time at Mayday Brewery, and all of these elements are enhanced by the beer.

Mayday Brewery’s facility is a substantial operation that places the brewing process in the spotlight alongside music and live performance, showcasing the brews and bravado of the Middle Tennessee region. Mayday has focused on the natural process of brewing, and Kelsey tells us there are no fancy computer systems or automated processes. Everything from start to finish is completely hands-on and instinctual. Many might argue that this could lead to inconsistency, but Mayday has yet to encounter this type of challenge.

Beers as Brothers

Mayday has done an enviable job creating true-to-character beers with a Tennessee flair. What I think about when I see Boro Blonde Ale in a store or when I crack open a can of Angry Redhead American Red Ale is that this is a brewery that prides itself on their own fundamental roots.

These beers are brewed with a natural and personal application of knowledge and dedication like any family would do while cultivating and growing their own. It almost feels as though these beers are their siblings — nurtured and loved by the very tribe that creates them.  

The descriptions of each beer on the can, the very ideas about each creation only allows the Mayday Family to keep this ship of brewing on its course. This is what a successful family business is all about and what a successful craft and independent brewery does to forge their place.

The nature and nurture element of Mayday Brewery is something that only a woman can deliver so effortlessly and substantially -– make no mistake about it, this is a family business with not only two women at the wheel, but an entire family behind them guiding and working the overall direction, a direction that will continue to deliver great success and wonderful beer.

Mayday Brewery’s Family of Brews

Boro Blonde

A Blonde Ale with light body and slight sweetness, hinting to honey and citrus. Approachable choice for mainstream beer drinkers during a craft brewery visit.   

Velvet Hustle

This American Pale Ale was a doughy and “umami” experience. Victory and Honey malts create an introduction to the palate that welcome a sneaky surprise with piercing and prickly American hops.  The Velvet Hustle works it’s spicy and sultry way into any Pale Ale lover’s heart.

Angry Redhead

This is where it all began. A Red Ale which Mayday classifies as an American Amber/Red is the foundation of the Mayday “Craft Beer Story”.  Angry Redhead registers at 6% ABV with spicy Chinook Hops creating a virtual trampoline of flavors that linger on the palate. Mayday says, “She’s feisty! Angry Redhead is a fiery personality that will stick with you, and a malty seductive snarl that will have you begging for mercy, or more.”  

Other Notables

  • Evil Octopus Black IPA/Cascadian Dark Ale
  • Spanky Monkey Red Ale Sour
  • The Pinch NEIPA
  • Cranberry Blonde
  • All the F*@#’n Berries
  • Old Salem #8 Blackberry Sour Red