When Two Tides Brewing Company opened in March, small-batch craft beer arrived in Savannah’s next great neighborhood — spurred by owners Liz and James Massey’s passion for brewing and for the community they love.
James is a former CPA who has been a dedicated home brewer for almost 10 years, creating over 400 different brews to date. Still, Liz says, “the idea of opening a brewery started as kind of a joke, something that might happen ‘one day’.”
In the fall of 2017, the Masseys heard legislation was likely to pass allowing Georgia breweries to sell beer by the pint from their own taprooms, so they decided to make their “one day” dream a reality. They focused their location search solely on the Starland District, a neighborhood they had loved since Liz lived and worked there while studying advertising at Savannah College of Art and Design. However, Starland wasn’t zoned for breweries. They had to appeal to the neighborhood and the city council.
“On lunch breaks, we would spend an hour walking around introducing ourselves to people, asking if they would write a letter of support,” say Liz. The community welcomed the Masseys and their brews, and zoning was changed in June 2017, ahead of the new state law.
Their 100-year-old, two-story building was the only one available in the neighborhood, at the time, that fit their purposes, but it wasn’t exactly set up to brew beer. That didn’t stop the Masseys from rolling up their sleeves and making the building exactly what they needed.
“We were here doing all the plumbing ourselves at two o’clock in the morning,” says Liz.
After Two Tides opened, their small staff grew to nine, including one cellarman — a person who focuses solely on creating beers and who helps James brew. The beer is still stirred by hand, just like James learned at home.
Two Tides’ pilot brewing system allows them to experiment with small, 15-gallon batches, and so far, their most popular brews include Hydrus — a double dry-hopped IPA — Sixfoot IPA and Chromatose Blackberry Sour Ale. Recipe inspiration often comes from James’s home-brewing notebook, but sometimes the Masseys will find a strange fruit and just want to try it in a beer.
Above all, Two Tides’ mission centers on being community-minded. Collaborations with SCAD students and alumni are evident in their logo, can labels, merchandise and even the mural on the taproom wall. They also collaborate with local breweries like Savannah’s Southbound to create small-batch brews highlighting the talents of both companies. Perhaps the greatest sign of their success is the clientele: couples, families and even dogs regularly fill their taproom.
Twice a week, Two Tides invites food trucks to set up outside, and they host live music on some nights. First Fridays usually bring over 500 visitors, and Two Tides plans to sponsor one large block party at the brewery each month. Ultimately, Two Tides wants to create an atmosphere offering something for everyone. As Liz says, “we want this to be a really approachable place where people can stop by for a few minutes or hang out for hours.”
Two Tides was named for the daily ebb and flow of the sea — while the ales they offer change regularly, the Masseys hope to stick around for a long time, brewing up inventive beers and fun for their unique community.