Three siblings arrived in Atlanta from Los Angeles in the summer of 1991 and opened a little bar. They had no idea what they were getting themselves into, but their main objective was to have a good time. In fact, their entire business strategy was to hangout with cool people, drink beer and never get real jobs. And it totally worked. With a reputation for award-winning burgers, an extensive selection of booze and a no-nonsense attitude, their unique neighborhood bar, and its “Laughing Skull” logo, quickly became landmarks in Atlanta.
Early on a September evening in 1994 the three siblings knocked on the front doors of the new Atlanta Brewing Company. It was the first craft brewery to open in the State of Georgia since the end of prohibition. The company’s founder happened to be working in the brewery that night and offered them an impromptu tour of the brewery. Located in a converted old red brick warehouse, pine-sided vats and cold tanks imported from England where being used to produce their flagship beer, “Red Brick Ale.”
Four clean pints were filled. The group raised their glasses up to the light, smelled the hoppy aroma and took a long pull of the coppery red ale. They all smiled as they praised the flavor and quality of the beer. On that evening, the Atlanta Brewing Company had won their very first draft account, and an enduring relationship between true beer lovers began. In 1997, Atlanta Brewing began bottling a new full-bodied brew, born from the personal relationship between these two small Atlanta-based businesses. The name of this craft Bohemian Pilsner was “Laughing Skull,” and in a show of appreciation, its packaging featured the iconic logo of the sibling’s bar.
Although successful, the future of the Atlanta Brewing Company seemed uncertain in 2004 when the Georgia Department of Transportation condemned the brewery’s original Williams Street property for a highway expansion. At some point during this messy restructuring, the Laughing Skull brand was discontinued. In 2005 After some additional internal reorganization, the staff relocated its operations to a new location in West Midtown. By 2010, the Atlanta Brewing Company had changed its public name to Red Brick Brewing Company.
Once the dust had settled, a new version of the Laughing Skull brand was released, changing from a Bohemian Pilsner to a well-balanced Amber Ale. Due to the brand’s continuing popularity, and consumer demand, Laughing Skull Craft Lager was also added to the line of beers. Laughing Skull is currently available in bottles, cans and on draft in seven southern states. More styles are being planned for release, as well as an increase in the areas it will be available for purchase. It seems that everyone wants to crack open a skull.