Frankfort is in the heart of bourbon country, but the city has a growing soft spot for brewing companies, too.
Goodwood Brewing Co., one of the first Kentucky craft beer companies, officially opened a brewpub to the public on Friday in downtown Frankfort. The company, which is based in Louisville, announced its plans to expand to the capital city last fall.
The Frankfort Area Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday morning to mark the occasion. The brewpub was opened for a private soft opening last week.
Ted Mitzlaff, CEO and chairman of Goodwood, said the company began working on opening a taproom and restaurant about a year ago. He said that Jason and Brian Delambre visited the Louisville taproom and asked Mitzlaff if he was interested in expanding and suggested he take a look at Frankfort. Mitzlaff said that he visited the city and fell in love with it and the Vatter Building where Goodwood is now located — 109 W. Main St. It has been home to a hotel, an automotive store, car dealership, cycle shop and more, he said. As of now, the brewpub has almost 50 employees.
Frankfort has been welcoming to the idea of Goodwood coming into the area, Mitzlaff said, adding that the community is full of wonderful people.
“It’s quintessential Kentucky,” Mitzlaff said.
The city is becoming a magnet for craft beer enthusiasts as Sig Luscher Brewery’s taproom and the West Sixth Farm have opened in Frankfort in the last year. Mitzlaff said Goodwood is excited to be friendly neighbors with other breweries.
He also credited part of his motivation for a brewpub in Frankfort to Brandon True, a Frankfort native who is a managing partner at Goodwood. True said that the two met because he worked for a restaurant company that Mitzlaff invested in. True has worked on opening other restaurants in Louisville and Alabama before recently returning home.
Downtown Frankfort has a lot of potential and is in a growth phase, True said. Having a place like Goodwood brewpub for residents and visitors to enjoy is another reason that Frankfort is a great place to call home, he said.
Goodwood aims to reach all demographics, including younger folks, and add another stop for local distillery traffic, giving tourists a reason to stay longer in the city and enjoy Frankfort.
“We would rather people come in from the Bourbon Trail and stay in for a night or two to see what else Frankfort has to offer,” True said.
Goodwood is currently serving a limited menu and will continue to add to it, True said. The food includes salads with made-from-scratch dressings, smoked brisket and wings, as well as appetizers, sandwiches and other handheld food options.
The Frankfort brewpub also has the opportunity to brew small batches of beer and be “experimental,” True said. The brewpub will also be available for private events and has a full bar.
Many business professionals and government officials were present at the grand opening on Friday.
Kentucky Capital Development Corp. President Terri Bradshaw said that Goodwood has shown in a short amount of time that it will be “excellent corporate citizens.” The community has responded with support, she said, as every time she has gone to Goodwood, she has seen a crowd inside.
The brewpub is one example of an attraction that can bring younger people to live and work in Frankfort, which would build the area’s workforce.
“This is just one of a number of things that we are doing throughout the community to attract millennials to live here, as well as work here,” Bradshaw said.
Franklin County Judge-Executive Huston Wells said the addition of Goodwood is in line with something envisioned by groups like the fiscal court, Downtown Frankfort Inc., KCDC, the Chamber of Commerce, the Department of Planning and Zoning and many others several years ago. The area needs more attractions to lure new residents to Frankfort, which is a “good place to live and work,” he said. Goodwood is a great place to socialize and have fun, he said.
“We’ve seen a lot of good things, but this is such a great thing that we are seeing the beginning of a new renaissance in downtown Frankfort. “
Frankfort Mayor Bill May said Goodwood’s brewpub further connects the area around West Main, St. Clair and Ann Streets and brings life to downtown Frankfort. City officials have talked about various ways to make the central business district a destination for locals and tourists.
“It's one more stop on Main Street for visitors and locals to enjoy,” May said.
City Manager Keith Parker said that Goodwood ties into previously discussed efforts to make parts of downtown an entertainment destination center. The area can be connected through various attractions, such as the brewpub and new businesses around St. Clair Street.
“It’s an exciting time,” Parker said.