Cat-n-Bird Winery reaches first year in business

Published 3:59 pm Friday, May 4, 2018

CHELSEA – Cat-n-Bird Winery of Chelsea commemorated its one year anniversary with a celebration from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, April 28.

Matt Lyons, who co-owns Cat-n-Bird with his wife, said over 300 attended the event, which featured food, wine and live music by Jackson Capps and Jesse Rushton.

Lyons said this is the first business that he and his wife have owned. He said Cat-n-Bird’s name and logo, a robin sitting on top of a lion’s head, is a play-on-words of his wife’s name, Robyn Lyons.

“What I jokingly tell people is that it would be cheaper to just start a winery to feed her wine habit,” Lyons said.

In reality, Lyons said their journey began after they began making wine recreationally in their home.

“It got to the point where people would come to our house and want to buy a bottle,” Lyons said. “We figured that there was an opportunity to start a business, but we didn’t want to do anything until we found this house.”

He said Cat-n-Bird started small, with only two 200-liter vats and no employees.

“Our goal was, if we could sell wine with 400 liters, we could pay our permits and drink for free,” Lyons said.

Today, Lyons said they are in the process of making about 8,000 bottles at any given time and rely on about four contractors for help.

Of all the wineries in the Birmingham metro area, Lyons said theirs is the only one that does not maintain its own vineyard. Instead, he said they import grapes and other fruits from out of the state and country.

“Because we don’t have a vineyard, we source from all over,” Lyons said. “We ask people what they like.”

In addition to being a winery, Lyons said Cat-n-Bird serves as a venue for events with less than 100 people, including weddings, corporate events and different classes. Cat-n-Bird also plays host to several regular events, including First Fridays and Theology Uncorked.

In the one year Cat-n-Bird has been open, Lyons said they have been met with many unexpected challenges and rewards.

“We did not at all anticipate the response we received. People like to hang out here,” Lyons said. “We like to call ourselves a community driven winery.”