Florence Recovery: Coming together over a cold one

Craft breweries support one another, community after hurricane

Tidewater Brewery severely damaged days before opening

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Tidewater Brewing was scheduled to have its final building inspection on Friday, Sept. 14, hopefully getting a certificate of occupancy and opening the following week.

Instead, as Hurricane Florence moved through that morning, high winds blew open the doors and ripped off the roof, which led to extensive water damage inside.

“All of the sheet rock in the building will have to come out. A lot of wood work, and that sort of thing,” said Ethan Hall, president and chief operating officer of Tidewater Brewing Company. “We’re already noticing mold growing on a lot of things.”

Tidewater Brewing was set to open at the corner of Princess and Tenth streets in the Soda Pop District the week after Florence hit.

Now, Hall said, it could be another six months before the first beer is poured at the location.

“It’s just going to set us back a few more months," Hall said. "We were ready to open, we would have been open right now pouring beer for everybody in the neighborhood. Unfortunately that didn’t happen. Give us about six months and we’ll do it then.”

Tidewater Brewery in Wilmington suffered heavy damage following Hurricane Florence. (Source: WECT/Emily Featherston)
Tidewater Brewery in Wilmington suffered heavy damage following Hurricane Florence. (Source: WECT/Emily Featherston) (Source: WECT/Emily Featherston)

Hall said they will replace the roof with a metal one, and will be completely starting over with sheetrock, electrical wiring, flooring and other interior features.

For a business that has yet to even begin operating, Hall said the prospect of having to completely start over is daunting. The building is insured, Hall said, but the cost of redoing everything is still undetermined.

“Insurance doesn’t cover everything,” Hall said, so they have set up a GoFundMe to try to raise additional money that will be needed for start-up costs and paying people to help rebuild.

Additionally, other craft breweries are stepping in to help.

Ted Coughlin with Ironclad Brewery in Wilmington said his brewery along with Salty Turtle Brewery in Surf City had put together a collaboration session IPA before the storm. Now he plans to donate $1 of every pint sold to the Tidewater rebuild.

“After the 2 years we spent from the beginning to getting open, I could not imagine after going through all that, and you’re weeks from opening your brewery, that devastation,” Coughlin said.

He said he just wanted to do something to help. Ironclad will host a session release party on Friday, Oct. 12 from 5 - 10 p.m.

Hall said he is touched with the outpouring of support.

“I was like, hey, yeah, that sounds great. I told him, let me know when it happens and I’ll come drink a beer with you," Hall said. "So everybody’s pulling together and doing a whole lot.”

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