All Around Tennessee with WMOT: Mayday Brewery

May 1, 2013


MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT)  --  In 2009 Tennessee loosened laws governing the production of alcoholic beverages, leading to a dramatic rise in the number of breweries and distilleries operating in the state.

One of the newest companies is Mayday Brewery located in Murfreesboro. 

The operation is still small enough that owner Ozzie Nelson gives most of the tours. Nelson is clearly proud of his brewery and enjoys showing it off.

Nelson said his interest in making beer began with a little backyard brewing in 1993. The name Mayday comes from an early brewing experiment gone awry.

“We were brewing outside,” Nelson recalled.  “The pot was boiling over and my wife comes out and says, ‘Hey! We got a mayday out here.’”

Nelson began brewing professionally in 2009, the year Tennessee updated its regulations governing alcohol production. He attended a brewing school in Chicago and then plunked down some serious coin when he couldn’t find a bank to loan him startup money.

“The equipment itself was in the neighborhood of $400,000. That’s not installed. We have about $1.2 million in the project; in the build out, equipment, equipment installation and the bar,” Nelson said.

Mayday offers four different brews, ranging from a pale-ale called The Velvet Hustle, to a brew called Angry Redhead that Nelson describes as a punch in the mouth. A third beer is a little more exotic.

“The Evil Octopus is an Indian Black Ale,” Nelson explained, “which is kind of our most different beer I guess. It’s hopy and dark, so it has that roast flavor as well as a lot of hops in it.”

Mayday also has a tap room that’s open to the public Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Pennsylvania native Mike Bobish was in town visiting family. Bobish said he has made a hobby of doing brewery tours . He had a glass of Mayday’s Boro Blond in hand and pronounced himself impressed.

“I like it a lot,” he said. “I would give it probably and eight out of ten; eight-and-a-half maybe. I probably will be rating it later.”

Mayday’s future is looks bright. Nelson said he already has 90 taps here in the mid-state. He’s ordered a new set of fermenting tanks that will more than double his output.

“We are at capacity right now,” he said. “As soon as we empty a fermenter, we are filling a fermenter. So we are brewing as fast as we can go.”