Baumgartners give Coca-Cola plant new life as English pub

Published 9:00 am Saturday, November 27, 2021

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Imagine flying across the Atlantic to the United Kingdom and stopping in one of England’s traditional pubs. There’s no need for that flight now as downtown Andalusia is home to The B Craft Beer and Wine Pub.

Kyle and Kim Baumgartner wanted to bring something unique to the community and have accomplished just that with the city’s newest hangout spot. The former Coca-Cola plant has been redone and given an entirely new look.

Local residents Kyle and Kim Baumgartner bought the former Coca-Cola plant and have converted it into their own business, which will affectionately be known as The B.

The B will be opening to the public soon with plans of holding a grand opening in January.

“We plan to embrace the nostalgia of the building. It will be a family-friendly, upscale venue. The original stainless steel tank in which syrup was stored has been moved downstairs and is incorporated into the design of the indoor patio,” Kyle said.

Coca-Cola products were bottled in the facility from the 1950s until 1980, which is the last time the building was in operation.

“It was time for people in Andalusia who travel out of town for nightlife to experience a place that encompasses some of our favorite places in bigger cities,” Kyle said. “We will offer an upscale setting for adults wanting an evening out to a family wanting to enjoy a beautiful sunny day on our patio or at sundown enjoying live entertainment,” Kim added.

Although the last two years have been a tough journey for the couple, all of their hard work and dedication is coming to fruition. “2020 and 2021 have been the most challenging years we have ever faced together. Without a doubt, everyone will see it’s been worth the blood, sweat, and tears to finally open,” Kim said.

The B will be open to the public four nights a week with strict rules and regulations in place. “The pub is for 21 and over only, but the outdoor and indoor patio areas are available for anyone under 21. No solicitation is allowed, and there will be no tobacco products of any kind including vaping on the property,” Kim said.

The upstairs has been converted into a loft-style setting the Baumgartners use as their living arrangements.

“We have gone to great lengths to offer a place like no other. It was very important to us both for The B not only to reflect both our personalities but also to bring our love for the big city entertainment venues to our growing small town,” Kim said.

Kyle said he has always wanted to own a pub. “Bringing some of the traditional pub settings along with encouraging conversation among individuals is what The B is all about. We want people who come in as strangers to leave as friends. We love having the opportunity to offer an upper scale and fun environment for everyone.”

Two Andalusia locals developed the name of the business and its logo.

The B’s logo was designed by local resident Robert Evers.

“I have to say we can’t take credit for either but are forever grateful for those who sparked the idea and created the end result. Our friend Bill Alverson knew our idea from the get go and immediately said, ‘You should call it The B after Baumgartner and use a cool vintage bee for your logo.’ Kyle and I both agreed it was perfect. Thanks to Robert Evers, the hexagon bee logo was created and is just perfect,” Kim said.

They are looking forward to the opportunity of owning and operating the newest establishment in the City of Andalusia. “I’m most excited about having the ability to do something I love while spending time with my family. It is the most amazing way to enjoy your entire community. So much in the building has been repurposed,” Kyle said. “There is a lot of historical significance here, and we want to preserve that.”

Planning ahead, the couple sees great things for the business and referenced an iconic theme song from a 1980s hit television show.

“We see The B being that place in five years where everybody knows your name and they’re always glad you came. That place where you can see our troubles are all the same because you wanna be where everybody knows your name. Sound familiar?” Kyle said.

The Baumgartners hope to partner with another business in the future and share the warehouse space at the facility.

There will be an outdoor entertainment area where events can be held in a patio atmosphere and an outdoor dance floor. “Our outdoor green space features a life-size chess board for when a dance-off just won’t cut it,” Kim said. There is also an area for food trucks. The business will feature an area with large-screen televisions for sports events and will regularly feature live music.

Kim said they are very excited about their menu. “The B will be offering a constant rotation of craft beers along with domestic favorites, extensive wine options, and seasonal cocktail choices. Our menu will consist of charcuterie boards, gourmet sausage dogs, hot pretzels, and some fun bar snacks. As a given, we will have non-alcoholic drink choices as well.”

The B’s menu will contain some usual bar favorites including charcuterie boards, sausage dogs, and pretzels in addition to several alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.

City of Andalusia Mayor Earl Johnson said, “The B will complement the other businesses that have located in the downtown district. Taprooms are very popular with millennials, and frankly, we think The B, like our other downtown entertainment venues, will become a regional destination. These are super popular in the bigger cities, but we are the first city of our size in Alabama to offer something like this.”

Johnson added that the proposed agreement with the Baumgartners is similar to agreements with Big Mike’s and Clark Theatres.

The B Craft Beer and Wine Pub is located at 239 Church Street in downtown Andalusia and is open from 3 until 10 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday and 1 until 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. For more information call The B at 334-923-1687.

The Baumgartners are looking forward to operating their own business in downtown Andalusia.

“We have had an overwhelming amount of support and excitement from the area and are looking forward to our newest endeavor. We are in a way opening our home to our patrons, so we expect as much respect from our patrons as we plan to give to them,” Kyle and Kim Baumgartner said.