NoDa Brewing Company, a craft beer company based in Charlotte, is developing a new taproom in Chapel Hill. The grand opening of the new location is set for September 16 at 1118 Environ Way.
The company has partnered with the previous owners of Old East Tavern to open NoDa Brewing Company Tapas. Patrons of Old East Tavern will order from an updated menu at the new taproom, which offers a full-service bar alongside small plates.
Jacob Virgil, NoDa's director of strategic development, said demand for a NoDa location in the Triangle area has been high for a while.
Currently, there are 386 craft breweries in North Carolina. Dave Tollefsen, a member of the group NC Beer Guys — a platform where beer hobbyists can explore breweries across the state — said there is a strong craft beer culture in North Carolina.
Virgil said he was optimistic that the collaboration with Old East Tavern's owners would be a productive one.
“We have a lot of ties to Chapel Hill," Virgil said. "I went to school there, our Head Brewer is from Chapel Hill, and our sales director's from Chapel Hill. So they have a lot of good ties there and it's just a growing market. It makes sense for us.”
Lewis Hendricks, a co-owner of Old East Tavern and now the NoDa Brewing Co. Tapas, said he is looking forward to the variety of NoDa beers that will be on tap.
“I've always had a lot of NoDa beers on tap, but now we'll be exclusively NoDa beers, and we'll get some of the releases that only get released to the breweries,” Hendricks said.
For the next two weeks before the grand opening, NoDa Brewing Co. Tapas’ chef will be crafting the menu. Hendricks said he hopes to release photos of some of the small plates during the wait to entice future patrons.
The company said it has brought on a chef specializing in pairing and tapas, using locally sourced ingredients including meats, seafood, and produce.
He added he believes the passion for brewing has grown, and more home-brewers are realizing they can take part in the process.
In May 2019, North Carolina legislators passed House Bill 363 to increase the distribution rights of brewers in North Carolina. The previous 25,000 barrel-per-year cap was increased to a 100,000 barrell-per-year cap.
NoDa and several other local brewing companies pushed for the bill’s passing. With the new law, breweries now have more flexibility to expand locations.
Henricks added the beer laws are better in North Carolina than they are elsewhere in the Southeast, giving craft breweries the opportunity to grow.
"There are many Charlotte transfers in Chapel Hill who are familiar with the NoDa brand and are excited for the new location," he said. "What keeps coming back to me is the word fun. It's going to be a fun place, comfortable setting and all the food and beverages are going to be good.”
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