By ASHLEY BERKERY
Good business. Good beer. Good People. Homewood locals Michael Sellers and Jason Malone are the good people behind the good beer.
As friends in college, Sellers and Malone always thought brewing beer would be a fun hobby. Both Sellers and Malone took professional jobs after graduation, Sellers with a software company and Malone with a financial planning firm, but they also decided to start brewing their dream. Malone moved to Birmingham from Tennessee into Sellers’ old house on Montevallo Road when Sellers and his wife moved to Homewood. And the brewing began from their homes.
“We decided to give it a shot and spent two years working out our business plan and testing our beers,” Sellers said. In 2006 the friends incorporated their brewing hobby, and by January 2008, Good People Brewing Co. had moved into The Mill restaurant in Southside, where they began cleaning and prepping for brewing.
In the meantime, Malone and his family moved to Homewood. They were looking for a great place to raise their kids. “We decided on Homewood because of the great family feel that it has as well as the great schools they offer,” Malone said. Sellers agrees with his partner. “Homewood has one of the best feels of all of the over-the-mountain communities,” he said.
Brewfest 2008 was Good People’s first public appearance. “We were super nervous, but the event well exceeded our expectations and gave us the confidence to launch into the market,” Sellers said. For them, July 4, 2008 was not only a Fourth of July celebration but a business breakthrough—the first time consumers could purchase the beer at local restaurants.
The marketing behind Good People packaging is unique. No bottles, only cans, are available for purchase. The oxygen levels are better for the beer in cans, and they don’t let in light like bottles do.
“We felt cans were more conducive to our outdoor southern lifestyles,” Sellers said. “Bottles are prohibited at public places such as beaches and lakes, and those are the best places to drink beer here in the South.”
Local grocery stores such as Piggly Wiggly and Western were supportive of the beer and began carrying the brand. In order to sell their beer at Publix, Sellers and Malone had to submit requests to the corporate headquarters in Tampa. In 2010 Good People was approved by Publix and now has a presence in the mega chain grocery store.
Currently sold in Birmingham, Huntsville and Tuscaloosa, Sellers said they have plans to eventually expand to other markets. “Our first goal is to get our tap room open here in Birmingham, and then we will focus on launching into other markets such as Auburn, Montgomery, and eventually out of state.”
In June of this year, the brewery was licensed to sell beer, and as soon as the tap room is complete, guests will be able to take tours, buy pints and sample different varieties of beers.
“Although there were risks involved going from the corporate world to owning our own business,” Sellers said, “it was the outpouring of support from the community that kept us motivated and gave us the confidence to pursue our dream of making good beer for good people.”
Good People Brewing Company
114 14th Street South