Made in Memphis

Memphis may be one of the most harmonious places on the planet. Most famously known as the home of the blues and the birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll, Memphis is a community where good ideas can quickly become world-changing enterprises. For a history of innovation in America, look no further than Memphis.

The city has been home to innovators like Fred Smith (FedEx), Kemmons Wilson (Holiday Inn), Clarence Saunders (Piggly Wiggly) and Sam Phillips (Sun Studio). In a city where the professional’s basketball slogan is “We Grind Here,” Memphis is home to many social innovators and entrepreneurs that keep the city grooving. 

Start your trip at Saint Blues Guitar Workshop, a boutique guitar maker that operates out of a warehouse and storefront near Downtown Memphis. At Saint Blues, visitors can watch the staff milling the fret on the neck of a cigar box guitar, or they can take to the gift shop for knickknacks like harmonicas and vials of dirt from Mississippi’s famed Crossroads. Saint Blues guitars are so popular, it’s common for an international customer to hop a flight to Memphis to come pick up the guitar - just so they can say they bought it in Memphis.

In the same neighborhood, you’ll find a taste of the local brew at High Cotton Brewing Co. Not only does High Cotton pay homage to its southern heritage through its name but also through the brewing process as a whole. From utilizing the region’s bumper crops to meticulous ingredient selection to just plain luck, High Cotton is making its mark in Memphis’ fast rising craft beer scene. For now, the company is focused on getting it’s beers into local bars around town, but they plan to open a tap room in late 2013 that will feature 10 to 12 beers.

It’s not just blues and brews Memphis is exporting. Local rib joints like Charlie Vergos’ Rendezvous and Corky’s ship ribs all over the world. It helps having world hub of FedEx planes in your own backyard. And if you’re not experiencing a taste of Memphis, you’re likely reading about it. Chefs like Andrew Ticer and Michael Hudman of Hog & Hominy, are racking up national accolades in The New York Times, Food and Wine and GQ magazine. 

Even megastar Justin Timberlake has caught his hometown’s entrepreneurial spirit. He established Mirimichi Golf Course, which is located in his childhood neighborhood north of Downtown Memphis. The luscious championship course is one of the most environmentally sustainable courses in the world. Mirimichi is a Cherokee term for “place of happy retreat,” so don’t be surprised if you catch Justin on the greens in Memphis working on his game and escaping the limelight of global superstar. 

Eat and drink
High Cotton’s local brews can be enjoyed at a number of Memphis eateries including Central BBQ, Alchemy and The Corked Carrot. Try an ESB, Saison or Scottish Ale. 

Hog & Hominy, a Southern-Italian combination of brick oven pizzas, polenta and more.You’ll find the best bocce court in Memphis on the side of the building. 

At the Pink Palace Museum, explore a replica of the first self-serve grocery store (Clarence Saunders’ Piggly Wiggly) or trace Memphis’ development from the time of Spanish explorers to through the Civil War and the yellow fever epidemics. 

Stop in at Saint Blues Guitar Workshop where every guitar is custom made in Memphis. Take a stab on a cigar box guitar or browse the St. Blues swag. 

Sun Studio was opened by rock pioneer Sam Phillips who had an ear for innovation. Once the launchpad of icons like Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis, today the studio’s guided tours are a must for any musical pilgrimage. 

Bring your golf game to  Mirimichi Golf Course. The eco-friendly championship course challenges with 7,400 yards of deep pit bunkers, super-fast greens, waterfalls and creeks. Don’t miss the state-of-the-art Callaway Performance Center for perfecting your drive along with the 9-hole executive course and extensive practice facilities. 

The founder of Holiday Inn, Kemmons Wilson’s legacy continues at the Holiday Inn - University of Memphis, which is also home to the Kemmons Wilson School of Hospitality. 

Memphis Marriott East keeps you right in the heart of East Memphis and near the bustling Brookhaven circle, which houses Hog & Hominy and Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen. 

Sun Studios. Photo Credit: Commercial Appeal

Sun Studio tours give you the opportunity to see where Elvis and Johnny Cash recorded. Photo by The Commercial Appeal.

Chefs Andrew and Michael Italian Kitchen: Justin Fox Burks

Michael Hudman and Andrew Ticer of Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen. Photo by Justin Fox Burks

St Blues Guitars

St. Blues Guitar Workshop located near Sun Studio makes custom guitars and cigar box guitars. Photo by Bryan Eagle

Big racks of ribs at Rendezvous - Craig Thompson

Smoking big racks of ribs at Rendezvous in Downtown Memphis. Photo by Craig Thompson

Gibson Guitar Factory

Putting the final touches on a Gibson Guitar. Photo by Andrea Zucker.

Mirimichi Golf Course: Andrea Zucker

Hole #18 at Mirimichi Golf Course by Andrea Zucker

Portabella BBQ Sandwich and beer from Central BBQ. Photo Credit: Justin Fox Burks

Memphis is the barbecue capitol of the world, but we've got more than pork. Try the portabella and barbecue sandwich from Central BBQ. Photo by Justin Fox Burks.

Local beer at High Cotton Brewery

Taste High Cotton beer at their taproom in Downtown Memphis. Photo by Justin Fox Burks.

Memphis Made Brewing Company owner. Photo Credit: Justin Fox Burks

Drew helps make Memphis Made Brewing - a local craft beer in Memphis. Photo by Justin Fox Burks.