In the Tapline: A Dozen Breweries for Charlotte Area

The past few years have seen an explosion of breweries onto the Charlotte craft beer scene. But the final few months alone of 2014 will see as many new breweries open as over the past two years. Through 2015, the number of Charlotte-area breweries (this piece looks at those in Mecklenburg County) could almost double. This is a comprehensive look at all breweries in the tapline.

Sugar Creek Brewing in Charlotte

Sugar Creek Brewing gearing up for its opening in the former Olde Mecklenburg site

The 2000s saw multiple breweries fold after a brief, smaller boom in the 1990s. However, the Charlotte area recently has been extremely supportive of breweries, with Four Friends and the chain Hops Grill & Brewery being the only two recent casualties. Both product and especially location contributed to the demise of these two. But look at the map of upcoming breweries, and it is evident that the light rail corridor is also becoming a brewery corridor.

In Charlotte, the strong homebrewing community has continued to fuel interest and innovation. The momentum is further fueled by successful breweries throughout North Carolina, as has been seen in California, Colorado and Oregon. One good sign for Charlotte is the fact that established breweries have set a very high standard with high quality beer and deep roots set in the community.

Upcoming breweries are diligently working to identify unfulfilled niches. First and foremost, this category actually includes a couple of cideries, which should succeed given great apples produced in North Carolina.

Second, because of production considerations and complications, established breweries have yet to take on sours and farmhouse ales. Fortunately, multiple upcoming breweries plan to produce these styles. Finally, while a number of upcoming breweries plan to utilize the symbiotic food truck model, multiple breweries also plan to have some food prepared in-house.

Sycamore Brewing in South End, Charlotte

Sycamore Brewing in South End, Charlotte

The upcoming breweries all have a number of things in common. They are made up of homebrewers, many of whom are Charlotte natives. They have spent months or even years trying to find just the right location, often repurposing an old industrial site in the process. They are striving to integrate local ingredients and even grow hops onsite. And they are learning worlds from the established brewing community.

The map here (and embedded below) includes upcoming breweries (yellow pins) as well as established breweries (green pins). Each brewery was asked about their location, beers, site plans, capacity, and personal backgrounds. The table lists upcoming breweries in order of expected opening. The first two breweries on the verge of opening are Sugar Creek Brewing (mere weeks away) and Sycamore Brewing (about a month out). Inevitably, some of these breweries will see delays with the endless hassle of permits, inspections and construction.

Sugar Creek Brewing took over the former Olde Mecklenburg site and will be a very interesting operation to watch, as they are hitting the ground at a sprint given the seasoned infrastructure left in place.

In order of expected opening; this piece is limited to Mecklenburg County, though surrounding counties have some breweries I’ll cover later!

Sugar Creek Brewing Logo

Sugar Creek Brewing Logo

Sugar Creek Brewing
Location: 215 Southside Dr, Charlotte, NC 28217
Beginning of Brewing: July 2014
Opening of Taproom: Late September 2014
When first decided to start the brewery: Mid 2013
Initial Capacity (bbl): 5000/year
Emphasized Style(s): Belgian, wits (including a cherry wit), dubbel, Sugar Creek XV (15% abv)
Other onsite activities: Restaurant, private event room
Owners: Eric Flanigan and Joe Vogelbacher
Brewer: Joe Vogelbacher and Todd Franklin
Prior work (all have homebrewing experience): US Marine Corps gunner and started/managed Whisky River (Eric); Joe and Todd were nuclear engineers for Newport News Ship Building
Interesting other notes: Taking over old Olde Meck location, including seasoned brewing equipment now passed down from first South End Brewing and then Olde Mecklenburg

 

Sycamore Brewing Logo

Sycamore Brewing Logo

Sycamore Brewing
Location: 2161 Hawkins St, Charlotte, NC
Beginning of Brewing: September 2014
Opening of Taproom: October 2014
When first decided to start the brewery: Early 2012
Initial Capacity (bbl): 15
Emphasized Style(s): All; will have 16 in-house beers on tap, rotating often, plus four additional taps
Other onsite activities: Run club, yoga classes; some food prepared inhouse; will also offer wine/ciders
Owners: Justin and Sarah Brigham (husband/wife)
Brewer: Justin Brigham and Jordy Smith
Prior work (all have homebrewing experience): Coors Brewing (while at UC-Boulder) (Justin); marketing (Sarah)

 

Red Clay Cider Logo

Red Clay Cider Logo

Red Clay Cider Works
Location: 245 Clanton Rd, Charlotte, NC
Beginning of Brewing: November 2014
Opening of Taproom: November 2014
When first decided to start the brewery: 2012
Initial Capacity (bbl): 500/year
Emphasized Style(s): Semi-dry to dry ciders, sweet cider, hopped cider, barrel-aged ciders, and fruit-flavored ciders
Other onsite activities: Most apples/fruit will be pressed at the source, but some will be pressed onsite
Owners: Jay and Deanna Bradish (husband/wife)
Brewer: Jay Bradish
Prior work (all have homebrewing experience): Synder’s-Lance (Jay) and pharmaceutical sales (Deanna); 20 years making beer/wine/cider out of home
Interesting other notes: Apples from Hendersonville; multiple medals in Great Lakes International Cider and Perry Competition; will run Kickstarter campaign soon

 

Free Range Brewing Logo

Free Range Brewing Logo

Free Range Brewing
Location: 2320 N Davidson Ave, Charlotte, NC
Beginning of Brewing: November 2014
Opening of Taproom: ASAP
When first decided to start the brewery: 2009; lease signed October 2013
Initial Capacity (bbl): 3.5
Emphasized Style(s): All; features include coffee brown ale, oyster stout, farmhouse ales
Other onsite activities: Some inhouse-prepared foods
Owners: Jason and Jeff Alexander (brothers)
Brewer: Jason and Jeff Alexander (brothers)
Prior work (all have homebrewing experience): Graphic design
Interesting other notes: Emphasized kid friendliness

 

Primal Brewery Logo

Primal Brewery Logo

Primal Brewery
Location: 16432 Old Statesville Rd, Huntersville, NC
Beginning of Brewing: October 2014
Opening of Taproom: October 2014
When first decided to start the brewery: July 2013; signed lease January 2013
Initial Capacity (bbl): 1000/year
Emphasized Style(s): All; already perfected pale ale, kolsch, saison, IPAs, porter
Other onsite activities: Hop garden
Owners: Ray Steimel and David Hoy

 

Salud Beer Shop Logo

Salud Beer Shop Logo

Salud Beer Shop
Location: 3306-B N Davidson St, Charlotte, NC
Beginning of Brewing: End of 2014
Opening of Taproom: Open
Initial Capacity (bbl): 1
Emphasized Style(s): All
Other onsite activities:
Owners: Jason Glunt
Brewer: Jason Glunt

 

Three Spirits Brewery Logo

Three Spirits Brewery Logo

Three Spirits Brewery
Location: 5046 Old Pineville Rd, Charlotte, NC
Beginning of Brewing: Early 2015
Opening of Taproom: March 2015
When first decided to start the brewery: 2011
Initial Capacity (bbl): 10
Emphasized Style(s): All; notably unfiltered beers, multiple lagers, golden ale w/ apricot, honey porter, Munich helles, Belgian saison
Other onsite activities: Taproom going for old English pub ambiance, plus a mini-arcade; separate quieter area called “Curmudgeon’s Corner”
Owners: Tabu and Jennifer Terrell (husband/wife)
Brewer: Tabu Terrell
Prior work (all have homebrewing experience): ER Doctor
Interesting other notes: Homebrewing since 1999, when his residency director suggested the new doctors figure out a good hobby. Site is a former textile dye lab.

 

Wooden Robot Brewery Logo

Wooden Robot Brewery Logo

Wooden Robot Brewery
Location: South End (location to be announced soon)
Beginning of Brewing: Spring/Summer 2015
Opening of Taproom: Spring/Summer 2015
When first decided to start the brewery: 2009
Initial Capacity (bbl): 1000/year
Emphasized Style(s): Farmhouse ales (wide range); unique twists on pale ales, porters, stouts, IPAs, lager
Other onsite activities: Music, art gallery events, farmer/supplier events
Owners: Dan Wade, Joshua Patton
Brewer: Dan Wade, Joshua Patton
Prior work (all have homebrewing experience): Swamp Head Brewery, Rogue Ales, and Masters of Science in Brewing and Distilling at the International Center for Brewing and Distilling at Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland (Dan); Finance (Josh)
Interesting other notes: “On the logo, it’s art + science. The wood represents the farmhouse brewing tradition and the artistic side of brewing. The robot represents the scientific and mechanical aspects of brewing, including the endlessly complex chemistry of mashing, boiling and fermentation. A robot is cold, logical, and single-minded, just like our uncompromising dedication to producing the highest-quality beer. However, building a robot from wood is silly, bordering on ridiculous. And this reminds us never to take ourselves too seriously.”

 

Archive Brewing Logo

Archive Brewing Logo

Archive Brewing
Location: Charlotte or Matthews
Beginning of Brewing: Working on recipes now
Opening of Taproom: 2016
When first decided to start the brewery: Late 2013
Initial Capacity (bbl): 10
Emphasized Style(s): UK/English styles, rootbound approach (Irish red, English IPA, English Pale Ale, ESB, 2500-year-old Roman Celtic Ale)
Other onsite activities: Live music and Christmas blowout
Owners: Jeromy Witmore, Daniel Stroud, Will Cathcart
Brewer: Jeromy Witmore, Daniel Stroud
Prior work (all have homebrewing experience): Systems analyst and electrical engineer (Jeromy); law enforcement and auto mechanic (Daniel); attorney (Will)
Interesting other notes: Intense due diligence into the industry in Charlotte; will make trips to the UK to study beer there.

 

Dukbone Brewing Logo

Dukbone Brewing Logo

DukBone Brewing
Location: TBD (exploring central Charlotte)
Beginning of Brewing: TBD
Opening of Taproom: TBD
When first decided to start the brewery: January 2013
Initial Capacity (bbl): 2000/year
Emphasized Style(s): American & Belgian ales; barrel-aged sours; coffee and vanilla porters
Other onsite activities: Plan to lease space to onsite restaurant; dog-friendly
Owners: David Wallce
Brewer: David Wallce
Prior work (all have homebrewing experience): Corporate banking (David)

 

Good Road Cider Works Logo

Good Road Cider Works Logo

GoodRoad CiderWorks
Location: Looking in South End
Beginning of Brewing: TBD
Opening of Taproom: TBD
When first decided to start the brewery: Mid 2013
Initial Capacity (bbl): 2000/year
Emphasized Style(s): Dry cider, semi-dry cider, English cider, meads (fermented honey)
Other onsite activities: Plan to lease space to onsite restaurant; dog-friendly
Owners: Brian Beauchemin and Kevin Martin
Brewer: Brian Beauchemin and Kevin Martin
Prior work (all have homebrewing experience): Business owner (Brian); award winning cider/mead expert (Kevin)

 

Barking Duck Brewing Logo

Barking Duck Brewing Logo

Barking Duck
Location: 8037 C, Fairview Rd, Mint Hill, NC
*Did not respond to requests for information; according to their Facebook page, they will be opening 9/2/14

No Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *