Big Business Brewing Among Lake Norman Craft Beer Makers
Ass Clown Brewing Company founder, Matt Glidden, became the first craft brewer in the Lake Norman region in 2011. Located off Bailey Road from the Town of Cornelius, which at that time had no blueprint for that business model, it helped pave the way for the rapid growth of the craft brewing industry at the lake. Today, there are seven craft brewery/taprooms operating in Huntersville, Cornelius, and Mooresville, tapping into the growing craft beer trend. Even attracting one of the region’s craft brewing largest breweries, Olde Mecklenburg Brewery in Charlotte to build out a beer garden and eventually a brewing operation.
Kevin Mikeworth, Beer CPA, — half of the husband-and-wife team of Laura M. Mikeworth CPA of Huntersville, is also a consultant who helps craft brewers start up the business side of their company with more than 30 clients in multiple states — says the Lake Norman area craft brewery market is healthy with plenty of growth opportunity and expansion. And, additional breweries are coming. Although he declines to identify it, he is working with a new craft brewery that is in the planning stages for Cornelius.
“Once OMB opens here, there is room for four or five more breweries,” says Mikeworth. “We are getting known as a destination for folks coming from Charlotte and elsewhere just for the breweries. They don’t come just to visit one brewery. Once they are here, they will stop at two or three others, too.”
According to Mikeworth, the demographic of brewery owners is shifting from hobbyists/homebrewers to business people who employ professional brewers. They’re better capitalized, more experienced in running a business and positioned to open larger and scale faster.
“What you are starting to see is a whole different type of person opening breweries,” says Mikeworth. “In the past, you had guys who brewed in their garage, but those guys are struggling to survive in the market.”
Another trend, he says, are breweries opening satellite taprooms. By law, a craft brewery can open up to three additional taprooms just for serving. The opens the opportunity for a growing variety of beers for bars and restaurants seeking to satisfy their customers’ growing taste for unique local brews.
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Article Retrieved from Charlotte Business Journal, written By Frank Andrews.
Photo Credit: BEN McKEOWN