This week I spoke with Daniel Brown, co-owner of Gilly Brewing Company in Stone Mountain, Georgia. We sat down outside of his coffee shop and chatted over specialty cold brew beverages.
“Both of my grandparents were born and raised in Jamaica. They moved to the U.K. when they were in their early 20s. They didn’t have a future where they were in Jamaica. It was really poor. And my grandmother really wanted to pursue getting a college degree. The way my grandfather tells the story is that as a child he had to work, didn’t get much schooling. But he raised up enough money to buy one-way tickets to London. It was a risk. He met a guy in the construction field who took him on, and said, “I’ll teach you everything you need to know.” So my grandfather was a carpenter by trade and got into flipping and investing in homes. A stereotypical thing with Caribbean families, we all have two or three jobs. They did that for many years. I learned a lot from them, just through observing. They’ve showed me that nothing comes easy. You have to work for things and earn money the right way.
My parents asked my wife and I to join them on a trip to Jamaica, and my grandfather also came. And he decided to give his life to the Lord. He got baptized at one of the beaches. It was really cool to see him do that even in his older age. To do that publicly. I’ve never seen my grandfather share any kind of emotion. He’s always been the strong manly man. He’s a man of very few words. He speaks only when necessary. But he broke down that day. It was amazing. I’d never seen him cry before. It was a beautiful experience to see him. In that moment, I knew I would name this place after my grandfather – Gilbert. Even in coffee we filter it, like a renewed state of mind, and pour water over it, like baptism. And it comes out brand new.”
“My wife and I have moved four times in the last five years, partly because we didn’t have any community. We stumbled across this historic house. We were originally looking for land to build that community intentionally. But when we found this historic house, we realized that it was set up just like the New Urbanism communities: central main street, houses behind, and very walkable. So we said to ourselves, “Instead of starting from the ground up, let’s see if we can influence this community.” Love God, love neighbor. That’s the model we want to kick start here. We want to constantly pump light, energy, and love to our neighbors. So far we’ve connected to a lot of the young families in the village, who all seem to have three children. They outnumber the adults. We know this is a long-term plan, and those kids are going to see the fruit. We’re content with not necessarily seeing it change overnight. ”
Get the recipe for The Gilbert, a coffee elixir named after his grandfather.