CHARLOTTE – Allen West, George Sistrunk, Mark Kutney and Ric Morton are taking their love of craft beer to new heights.
The four longtime friends and attorneys started brewing beer at their homes and they eventually bought a half-barrel system to brew their beer together. Later this summer, the four will be brewing even more beer and taking their craft to the masses, when they open Town Brewing in the FreeMoreWest Neighborhood.
Town Brewing is located at 800 Grandin Road, which is off of West Morehead Street and located behind Rhino Market. It is about five minutes from Uptown Charlotte. The building is almost 11,000 square feet and use to be the home of Lubromation, which made industrial machine parts at the location.
West said his partners expect to start brewing beer in the coming weeks and open the taproom and kitchen in late August.
“We were all brewing independently,” West said. “At one point, we were all practicing (law) in the same firm and we would get together on the weekend and share brewing stories and share beer. Eventually, we got a system, where we could brew together and brew more beer.”
It was during one of those weekend brewing sessions that the four friends started talking about opening their own brewery.
“We were excited about some of the product we were putting out,” West said. “It was 2012 when we started talking about it, but we didn’t start working on a business plan and looking at spaces until 2015.”
Part of that plan included hiring Brian Quinn as the head brewer. Quinn, who is a graduate of North Mecklenburg High School and a former investment banker, comes back to Charlotte after brewing at Printer’s Ale Manufacturing Company in Georgia. Quinn also brewed beer at Foothills Brewing in Winston-Salem and he is a graduate of the Siebel Institute Master Brewer Program in Chicago.
Quinn said Town Brewing will distribute some of its product on a limited basis but most of the beer will be brewed for the taproom.
“I love the North Carolina beer scene and I have a lot of great connections here,” Quinn said. “Being taproom-centric allows you to put out a broad range of styles and play around with a lot of different variety. We definitely will have some IPAs, and hazy IPAs have been really big lately. We will do some Belgium stuff, we will do some German stuff. At the end of the day, we want to brew beer that people want to drink. We want to hit on all notes.”
West said the location is ideal for a brewery and that around 25 people will be employed at Town Brewing.
“We had been looking for a few years,” West said. “We looked at a lot of different places all over Charlotte. We like the neighborhood and we like the fact that we are in a neighborhood that doesn’t have a brewery. The west side of Charlotte is growing and changing and we are excited about that.”
There are several roll-up garage doors in the taproom that allow access to a large outdoor patio. The taproom has seating for 115 and the outdoor patio has space for an additional 75 people. Town Brewing will also serve food with menu items includingx flatbreads and Paninis.
“We will be small-plate oriented,” West said. “It will be food that goes with beer. We will start small and grow. We want first-rate, quality food that goes with first-rate, quality beer.”
Doerre Construction, which also did work at Hyde Brewing and NoDa Brewing, is handling the renovation project.