Nappy Roots rappers create Atlantucky Brewing in Castleberry Hill
What do you get when you mix craft beer with renowned hip-hop artists? Members of Atlanta-based Nappy Roots hope the formula equals opportunity. Atlantucky Brewing opened in February in Castleberry Hill, and its owners, the rappers Skinny DeVille and Fish Scales, caught up with “City Lights” senior producer Kim Drobes to share their aspirations for the brewery.
How Nappy Roots has long nurtured a love of beer:
“My recollection goes back to college. When we were in Nappy Roots, we always hung out at the studio, and, you know, I was drinking Michelob and things of that nature. I think my other compadres were drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon and some other things. Scales was trying to drink some higher-end beers at the time,” said DeVille. “So we’ve always had beer in our life, I would say, just as college students up to adults. Nappy Roots, we always would have beer on the rider … Beer’s always been in our DNA.”
“I always like being the guy who walked in the room with a different drink than everybody else, you know, a different beer,” said Scales. “I felt like that said a lot about who you are, what you bring to the party.”
Scales continued, “I was living in downtown Atlanta, and there was a store right under the condos I was living in, and they started bringing in different kinds of beer, and I remember just buying one, I think it was a session ale … The guy at the front asked me, he said, ‘Yo, if there’s anything else you want, just let me know and I’ll order,’ and that was the first time I realized that I could get more than just what was on the shelf. I realized that you can dive deeper into this rabbit hole of beer.”
Developing a taste for beer into a business:
“Later on, as we were doing our podcast ‘Nappy Hour,’ we had a segment where we would do the ‘Beer of the Day,’” said Scales. “That led to me introducing some different beers to Skinny, and since then, we’ve just been on the journey.”
“Another moment is when we were on tour, I was given the job to find breweries before the shows that we can go to and promote our show that night, probably get 50 to 100 extra people coming to the shows just by going into a brewery and hanging out. And after doing that enough times, you know, you show us something enough times, we’re going to figure out how to do it,” Scales recounted. “We just caught the love. We caught the bug for it, and eventually, that led to us brewing in my garage.”
The Nappy Roots brewery research road trip:
“As we toured as Nappy Roots … we were hitting a brewery per city before the show, and when we’re on the road … we’re doing 75 to a hundred shows a year as independent artists, a different city every day. There’s a lot of breweries out there that most people if you live in your own city, you will not get a chance to see because you’re stuck in the old nine-to-five of your own life, you know?” said Deville. “Some people take pilgrimages to different cities to try beer, but that’s our job, is to travel.”
Finding the perfect space in Castleberry Hill:
“To open a brewery takes a lot of money, but to have this space so nice before we got there, it was a blessing,” said DeVille. “So we just took advantage of the space, and we fitted it out with our own furniture. We put the brewery in the back, but the walls were so amazingly white that we had to put something on them, and to put local artists on the walls and make the whole space about beer, art and music, it makes the vibe of Atlantucky what it is. And as soon as you get in there, the warmth of these local artists on the walls is enough to make you want to stay and have a few beers.”
Atlantucky Brewing is open now on Northside Drive in Castleberry Hill in downtown Atlanta. More information is available at atlantucky.com.