Saw Works brews up Knoxville passion

In a remote downtown alcove, behind a row of abandoned warehouses, sits a testament to Knoxville’s ingenuity.
Saw Works Brewery, previously Marble City Brewery, is Knoxville’s only micro-brewery and has provided premium craft beer to Knoxville and 15 of its surrounding counties since May 2011.
Located in an unassuming brick building on E. Depot Avenue off Magnolia Avenue, Saw Works is a small facility that produces some of Knoxville’s most popular beers, such as the Saw Works Brown and the Rocky Hop IPA.
Prior to the arrival of its current owners, the historic factory building housed Wallace Saw Works, a saw-sharpening company which, after nearly 50 years, closed in the late 1990s. Soon after Wallace vacated, new tenants arrived and established the New Knoxville Brewing Company, filling the warehouse with new stainless steel, state-of-the-art brewing equipment.
After a few years of production, however, the brewery proved unsuccessful and subsequently closed. Owners evacuated the building, leaving every piece of brewing equipment behind. It is rumored that when new owners, Marble City Brewery, arrived, full bottles of beer still remained on the bottling line.
In late 2009, when cousins and Saw Works co-founders Adam Palmer and Johnathan Borsodi heard of an abandoned brewery for sale in Knoxville, they made an offer and never looked back.
“When it comes to the craft beer industry, you have to have two things: good beer and timing,” Palmer said. “Good timing is everything.”
Almost immediately after Marble City’s inaugural beer release in 2011, however, Albuquerque brewer, Marble Brewing Company, sued Palmer and Borsodi for copyright infringement over the brewery name. After an almost yearlong court battle, Palmer made the decision to change the name of the business to Saw Works, an homage to the fading Wallace Saw Works logo that still brands the building’s rear wall.
“I made the decision to start paying people other than attorneys,” Palmer said. “There were more important things to put our money towards.”
Today, business at Saw Works is booming and quickly outgrowing their E. Depot Avenue location. Saw Works maintains contracts with The Casual Pint and Tupelo Honey franchises, creating and producing custom beers for both companies. With plans to expand and relocate, Palmer says his decision to start a business in Knoxville was a good one.
“Knoxville is a great beer town and it is only going to get better,” Palmer said.
Jeremy Walker, Eagle Distributing representative and beer lover, said Saw Works’ work ethic contributes to the company’s success.
“It’s not nameless, it’s not faceless, it’s true grassroots business,” Walker said.
When visiting the Saw Works Brewery, patrons have the opportunity to tour the facilities, learn about the brewing process, enjoy a fresh craft beer in The Mill tasting room, and meet the friendly staff. As an added bonus for beer connoisseurs, new flavors from The Saw Works Rough Cut Series—specially brewed, one-keg experimental beer batches—are available exclusively at The Mill.
Courtney Gleason, Saw Works marketing and merchandising manager, said her favorite part of the job is connecting with people who love Saw Works beer.
“It’s really rewarding to meet people who are excited about Saw Works, whether it’s out in a bar or coming to the tasting room for the first time,” Gleason said.
The Mill tasting room is open weekly from 4-8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday with tours at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday evenings. For more information and upcoming Saw Works events, visit

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