In a once-forgotten neighborhood in the geographic center of Memphis, Wiseacre Brewing Co.
is turning its unassuming Broad Avenue location into a destination, thanks in part to brothers Davin and Kellan Bartosch.
Born and raised in Memphis, the brothers were groomed for the entrepreneurial route. Their father, who’d climbed the corporate ladder, wanted to spare his sons the frustrations he had faced. “Our dad always encouraged us to find our own paths, and we did,” Kellan says.
For the next decade, these paths would take the Bartosch brothers far from home. Kellan, the younger of the two, worked in sales and marketing with the Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. before he became only the second Las Vegan to earn the status of Certified Cicerone, the equivalent of a wine sommelier.
Meanwhile, Davin studied in Chicago and Munich before graduating as salutatorian from the World Brewing Academy. He became a distinguished brewmaster at Chicago’s Rock Bottom Brewery, and earned a plethora of awards at various festivals for his brewing collaborations.
But for all the Bartoschs’ success, the Bluff City was still calling them. “The city had started to take off and there wasn’t much of a beer scene,” recalls Davin. “The Grizzlies were doing great, and people were getting very excited about Memphis.”
With an obscure dream, the two returned home, moved back in with their parents, and poured their entire savings into the brewery. They settled on an abandoned bakery-turned-convenience store adjacent to the train tracks on Broad Avenue, a block or two away from the likes of Broadway Pizza and The Cove, longstanding neighborhood establishments that have weathered the neighborhood’s ebb and flow.
Wiseacre grew quickly. Since tapping its first keg in September 2013, the brewery has expanded distribution to over 150 bars and restaurants throughout Tennessee and North Mississippi, and looks to expand further in 2016. Wiseacre was the first Memphis brewery with a taproom and the first in Tennessee to can its own beer, while its Tiny Bomb pilsner was named one of “The 101 Best Beers in America” by Men’s Journal. “We certainly have intentions and confidence to be one of the best breweries in the country,” Kellan says.
The younger Bartosch doesn’t like to think of Wiseacre as “over-important” in the Memphis beer scene, but recurring taproom conversations make them confident about the future. “When people tell us they came to Memphis to check out Wiseacre, and then ask what else they should do while they’re in town, it’s a cool feeling,” Kellan says.
2763 Broad Ave (901-888-7000)