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NoFo Brew Co. reflects on growth, how they’ve become a part of the community ahead of 3-year anniversary
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Marketing and Events Manager Kamie Avery, left, and Director of Marketing Eliana Barnard, right, stand outside of NoFo Brew Co. ahead of the brewery's third anniversary. - photo by Sabrina Kerns

The staff at NoFo Brew Co. & Distillery love the environment and community they have helped to create at its sole location in north Forsyth right off Ga. 400.

For them, the brewery is more than just about craft beer. It’s about serving as a space for the community to gather, hang out, get to know each other, and simply have a great time.

Recently, staff members reflected on all the ways they successfully created just that for the community as the brewery, which opened in 2019 just before the pandemic began, readies for its three-year anniversary in October.

When NoFo Brew Co. opened, Eliana Barnard, the brewery’s director of marketing, said they had about nine people on staff, serving three to four different beers to community members to explore and try what would become some of their favorite craft beers.

At the time the staff knew the community would be the focus, training bartenders to always lend a helpful hand to guests.

“When someone comes in and doesn’t know what they like, we want to help them,” Barnard said. “We don’t want to just be like, ‘You don’t know craft beer? Get outta here.’ No, if you don’t know what you like, we’ll walk you through the offerings.”

Building that foundation, Barnard said NoFo also focused on making sure the environment was just right for customers. They acquired western-style furniture from a local husband and wife interior design duo, Anisa and Casey Darnell of Truth & Co., making sure there were cozy, comfortable spaces for small groups and large, open ones for larger groups.

Outside, NoFo offers an airy space with furniture spread out over a turf-covered lawn and a fire pit that the staff now calls, “the beacon,” since its flame draws guests in from Ga. 400.

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A bottle of bourbon made and bottled in NoFo Brew Co.'s distillery shows off the brewery's new bottle labels. - photo by Sabrina Kerns

But as the staff has focused on its brewery and distillery, it has grown over the past three years.

NoFo now offers 20 beers on tap and the menu is always changing. Barnard said guests can expect to see new beers every two to three weeks as they sell out of some offerings and create new ones.

She said the broad selection also allows the staff to experiment with flavors and offer a menu where everyone can find something they like.

“We can do all this other fun [stuff] like barley wine and a blonde stout easily because we have a nice, smaller brew system,” Barnard said. “We allow the brew team a lot of creativity to change it up.”

Most recently, Kamie Avery, the brewery’s marketing and events manager, said they introduced cocktails for those who don’t like beer or who may want to try something different.

Aside from the new offerings, Avery said one of the biggest differences has been the connection to the community as more people in north Forsyth discover NoFo and start visiting regularly.

With an influx of regulars, they have started hosting more events at the brewery that the whole community can enjoy — from comedy nights and trivia to live music and yoga on the lawn.

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Guests spend time on the brewery's patio while enjoying some of 20 different craft beers and cocktails offered. - photo by Sabrina Kerns
One of the most popular events held recently was the first-ever dog show where residents from all over brought out pups to pose on a stage on the brewery’s lawn. Avery acted as a judge, naming the top winners in 10 different categories, including the best dressed, the best name and more.

“There were probably 100 dogs here,” Avery said, laughing.

She said they use fun, cute events like that to also help support other local businesses. During the dog show, they invited local vendors to sell pet supplies on the lawn while the doggos strut their stuff on stage.

Not long after the dog show, NoFo held its Market Day, inviting local vendors from all over Forsyth to come out and sell their products at for the day at no charge.

“We just wanted to support the community,” Barnard said. “That’s why we started these [events].”

The staff at NoFo hope to continue hosting fun events, and its team is already planning others for the summer and fall, including the celebration of the brewery’s third anniversary in early October.

Thinking back on the last three years, Barnard and Avery said one of their favorite things about NoFo is what hasn’t changed.

“What’s really cool and what’s remained the same throughout is that we’re proud of — and not a lot of other people in the service industry or businesses have — is we have the same staff that we started [with],” Barnard said.

While the staff has more than doubled since 2019, Barnard said the employees they started with are still there — which she believes speaks volumes to how the managers treat their team.

She said that constant and positive energy translates into the community and with the guests, which has been helpful as they have grown and become part of the community themselves.

“NoFo means so much more to us than just [being in] north Forsyth now,” Barnard said. “It’s really awesome to see us and the community really tight-knit.”

NoFo Brew Co. is located at 6150 Georgia Highway 400 Suite A/B in Cumming, and guests can find their website at www.nofobrew.co.

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NoFo Brew Co. always offers 20 different craft beers, with the menu changing every couple of weeks as the brewery sells out of some and creates others. - photo by Sabrina Kerns
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NoFo Brew Co. - photo by Sabrina Kerns