What began as a dream to open a farmhouse brewery resulted in Brad Singleton opening three pizzerias and one grill - serving his own Briarscratch Beer, with Portland Pizza and Pub being the latest to open.
Singleton is doing what he loves and is quite successful. While earning a degree at the University of Tennessee in mechanical engineering, he got another education working at a beer market where he learned to make, sell beer and talk beer. His Briarscratch Beer is now in 20 locations.
Opening a brewery was not a simple task for Singleton. He lived on a farm in the Bugg Hollow area of Cottontown and ran into restrictions with agriculture property zoning. He had to go through three committees in Sumner County Government to get the zoning changed before he received approval. However, the approval came with the restriction the he could not sell the beer on his property.
After the brewery got underway, he began looking for a place to open in Gallatin to sell Briarscratch Beer. He connected with Spencer Wakefield known for being the former owner of Swaney Swift in Gallatin. Together they looked at a building on Prince Street, as a place to market his beer; but that idea swiftly became a plan to open a pizzeria and pub.
Within 15 minutes they had signed a lease on the building. Three weeks later they had the keys, and within three months they had opened Prince Street Pizza and Pub.
Over the next three and a half years, they added White House Pizza and Pub, Filly’s Game and Grill in Gallatin and the most recent - Portland Pizza and Pub.
In addition they opened a pizzeria in Hendersonville which they later sold. At age 28, Singleton had opened a brewery and by 32 he had opened six businesses in Sumner County. The businesses employ 75 people in the county.
Portland Pizza and Pub is their newest venture located in an old building on the north side of Portland. They leased the building in October of 2018. Renovations began and the business opened in May. The building itself was rough, but they saw the vision. They used reclaimed material to make it look like it had always been there. The renovations matched the rugged appeal of the building.
Singleton said, “We have been known for breathing life into old buildings. All our buildings are 60-plus years old. Customers can write on the walls and tables. We feel the artistic experience adds to the decor to set us apart from other businesses. If a customer walks in and doesn’t like the writings on the tables and walls - one bite of our pizza will bring them back.
“While we don’t offer traditional table service, our staff works hard to make sure our customers have what they need and tipping our staff is highly appreciated.” Singleton said.
The Portland location specializes in locally brewed beer and all the draft beer is made at one of the many Tennessee breweries. The owners use creative marketing and creative names for their pizza and beer. They have a beer named Portland Porter which is made from sorghum and cocoa.
As with the other locations, fan favorite pizzas including the Cheeseburger Pizza and the Hot Chicken Pizza will be offered in Portland.
Singleton said, “This has happened fast. In four years I have opened a brewery and six businesses. It is time to put more energy back into these businesses. I’ll be at Portland for a while but will soon move about to each business.”