As a student at Mercer University, Kaitlynn Kressin found a passion for community development. Today, she continues to help improve Macon through her three businesses — Fall Line Brewing Co., Ocmulgee Brewpub and Just Tap’d, a craft beer store and taproom.
“Breweries are a nugget of what the culture in that area is like. So, when you go and visit a local brewery, you can really learn a lot about the city that it’s in,” said Kressin, who owns the businesses with her husband, Nate Kressin.
“We hope that people have that same sort of experience when they come to our breweries, where they feel welcome, and they have a great customer service experience. They see how passionate Macon is about food and beer and the atmosphere.”
Kressin, who was known as Kaitlynn Jones when she graduated in 2015 from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, majored in psychology and sociology. Her experience as a student with the College Hill Alliance — a group dedicated to improving an area between Mercer and downtown Macon known as the College Hill Corridor — drove her to community development.
As part of the organization, she helped coordinate events such as Second Sunday in the Park, including the sold-out Percy Sledge concert; Mac Party, which introduced local businesses to area college students; and the creation of Reunion Zero, the first alumni gathering for new Mercer graduates.
“I’m from Macon, and I’ve always had a passion for seeing it succeed and seeing it grow and sharing my love for Macon with other people, even when it was the unpopular opinion at one time,” Kressin said.
Shortly before graduating, Kressin met her husband, who already owned Just Tap’d. Together, they opened Ocmulgee Brewpub in 2016 and Fall Line Brewing Co. in 2020, just days before having to shut down due to the pandemic.
“It was difficult, but something that I’m always impressed with within our businesses is our ability to quickly adapt. So, we quickly adapted to to-go orders. We quickly adapted to a lot of distribution,” Kressin said. “We would sell beer to literally anyone who would take it.”
The move paid off, and Fall Line was able to scale its distribution outside of Macon much sooner than it would have if not for the pandemic, she said. The weeks the physical business spent closed also allowed them time to secure products that were in short supply, finish construction, complete the beer garden and finalize procedures for the attached event venue, Fall Line Station.
Today, Fall Line beers are distributed across Georgia, and you can find them in cans and on draft at your local bars, restaurants and package stores.
Kressin said she and her husband “divide and conquer” the business duties. He handles operations and management while she oversees marketing, event planning and social media, as well as some of the behind-the-scenes operations.
Her parents, who own a restaurant together in Warner Robins, served as positive role models for Kressin’s marriage and business relationship.
“They have a great marriage, but they also have a great working relationship, and that was something that was important to me,” she said. “My husband and I really enjoy working together. That’s one of the best parts of our job is that we get to work together.”
He also helps her maintain a healthy work-life balance.
“I would probably work every hour, every day for the rest of my life if I didn’t have a husband who was so willing to say, ‘We’ve got to turn our phones off and go do something fun,’” she said.
That fun includes playing pickleball; walking their dogs — an Akita named Hanson and a three-legged chocolate Labrador retriever named Kairi; and drinking Fall Line Lager at JBA, a small music venue downtown.
Since graduating, Kressin has stayed connected to Mercer, turning to her contacts at the University to answer questions, point her in the right direction or offer advice. She also works with Mercer Athletics to provide beer at football and baseball games. Athletics recently announced the “Fall Line Section” for the upcoming football season, in which season ticket holders in the section receive two free beverages at each home game.
In addition to her role as a business owner, Kressin is an active community volunteer. She currently is vice president of the Bragg Jam board, a member of the Cherry Blossom Festival board and belongs to the Macon Rotary Club. She is a past board member of Loaves and Fishes Ministry, past treasurer of the Magnolia Soap Box Derby and past president of the Downtown Macon Community Association.
In previous years, Kressin has been named an Emerging Leader by NewTown Macon, Small Business Leader of the Year by the Greater Macon Chamber of Commerce and to Macon Magazine’s list of 5 Under 40.
“I’m super appreciative for how involved I get to be,” she said. “It’s always an honor.”
Mercer Made is a series in which we feature notable people, businesses, products and inventions connected to Mercer University.