WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – More breweries could be popping up in the Port City. The Brewery Initiative Project Team has been working to recruit breweries to come to Wilmington. They have also been helping local smaller-scale brewery businesses set up shop or expand.
Michelle Savard and her husband are building a brewery on South Kerr Ave. in Wilmington right now, called Wilmington Brewing Company.
Savard said when she and her husband returned to Wilmington, they saw a need for more breweries and homebrew shops in Wilmington.
They started Wilmington Homebrew Supply, which Savard said grew much more quickly than she expected because of the large demand. She said that is why she and her husband decided to expand and build a brewery.
It is not just their business; city planners said other businesses are also working on setting up smaller-scale breweries in Wilmington.
"It's just a really cool time to be part of the beer industry, with the other guys that are opening up around town, we all talk and exchange advice and stories and try to help each other out, it's a really neat community to be a part of," Savard said.
The Brewery Initiative Project team said they are also reaching out to large-scale breweries, trying to bring them to Wilmington.
Roger Johnson, the assistant to the City Manager in Development, said that a recent evaluation showed them that breweries not only help to bring jobs and boost business in Wilmington, but also help to re-purpose older unused buildings.
He said right now they are looking to see if Wilmington potentially meets the requirements needed to apply to bring in Stone Brewing Company, a California based microbrewery.
He said they do not know yet if the Port City will meet their specific criteria, but believes the Port City will be attractive to breweries in general.
"We have the existing infrastructure in place for distribution," Johnson explained. "Being located near the halfway point of Miami and New York, we are centrally located to all the large markets that they would like to serve. And then of course, the quality of life issues, they like to have tap rooms associated with them which means a lot of outdoor activities in the area so that's very appealing to them."
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