Wow. It seems as though we’ve been working on this project for years, but also that it’s gone by in a flash.
It started with a class just for the heck of it… How to Start a Microbrewery. The more we learned, the more it looked like a possibility. A business plan came together, we found Scott Berger (lawyer extraordinaire), an equipment supplier (Deutsche Beverage Technologies), and accountants (Green Bean Counters). A meeting with the town planner in early June 2019 led us to Lyle Estill and Tami Schwerin who were reimagining The Plant NC and wanted to add a brewery to the roster of businesses in The Chatham Beverage District. We fell in love (maybe not at first sight) and were eager to join the family at The Plant. In spite of the layers grunge left over from Piedmont Biodiesel, we saw the possibility of our quirky space and know that we definitely chose the right location in Building 3, tucked away in the back with a view of a Copeland Springs Farms garden from what is now our front door.
We had plans drawn up and started going through the process to get our building permits when….. COVID. (Most of us have a similar COVID story…. screeching halt, right?) Then a miracle happened. A COVID miracle! Pittsboro is growing so fast that we couldn’t get a sewer allocation for our proposed 105 seat tap room, but social distancing did allow us to have 40 seats of allocation and we were off and running!
Construction started in July 2020 and progress came in bursts….. our concrete floors ended up being more than 24 inches deep and cutting for drains took longer than we thought. Our brewing equipment was delayed along with everything else. The months passed and the most common question from our Plant family was… “when are you going to open?” and the answer felt like “never!” Frustration was tempered with good humor, love, and support from family and friends.
Summer turned to autumn, then winter, and spring came with new hope for the finish line. We celebrated the opening of our Bath House with a formal ribbon cutting. We planted hops with some help from Copeland Springs Farm so that we can make a fresh hop beer or let Chatham Cider Works use them for another bmc blend of hopped cider. We weathered a water main break that turned our front entrance into Lake bmc. Our construction came to a close and we had all new power thanks to the great guys at Chatham Electric Service (who used to occupy the room that is now our tap room). We miss seeing your cheerful faces every day!! Our Certificate of Occupancy and the necessary paperwork was finished on June 4th and we took a drive to the NC ABC Commission in Raleigh to file our paperwork and get our ABC Permits so that we could start brewing beer! We finished setting up equipment, pulled recipes together, and ordered ingredients. And we waited. And waited. On June 25th, the day after those temporary permits came, we got to brewing!
We’ve been brewing, fermenting, carbonating, kegging, and cleaning as fast as we can. We started with a mash for Fair Game Beverage to distill and age into another small batch whiskey (stay tuned for that…. we think it’s going to be something special!) Our Tiara Red Ale was brewed on June 28th which is a special day for the person who gave that beer its name. Our Kolsch, IPA, Pale Ale, Wheat, Irish Stout, Belgian Pale Ale, New England IPA, and Coffee Blonde Ale followed. Some of those are tapped and ready to serve, some are still fermenting or being carbonated. While we were brewing big batches, our collaborator Carolina Fermentations Unlimited was brewing some small, interesting beers for us. There’s a grapefruit IPA, a steam beer, an English style brown porter, and an oyster stout. Look for those in the coming weeks!
Yesterday, July 23, 2021, after more waiting for official paperwork from ABC, we finally got the green light to turn that closed sign to open and share our beers with you all. After we closed the doors on Friday night, we breathed a sigh of relief and then realized that the new journey is just beginning…. One Pint at a Time.
Thanks for following along our 2 year journey and we hope to see you soon!