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Real Estate - Commercial

Wilmington Brewing Co. Plans Expansion

By Christina Haley O'Neal, posted Aug 16, 2018
Wilmington Brewing Co. owners Michelle and John Savard are looking to expand after recently purchasing its property and a second lot next door. (File photo)
Wilmington Brewing Co. is gearing up for expansion with the purchase of its current address and an additional property next door to its South Kerr Avenue location, planning to add an events space.

Formerly leasing the space at 842 S. Kerr Ave., the locally-owned brewery and taproom purchased the 2-acre lot and building, and the nearly 3 acre-lot beside it at 800 S. Kerr Ave., according to Michelle Savard, who co-owns the brewery with her husband, John.

Wilmington Brewing Co. is excited to take ownership of the space, she said, adding that she and her husband are happy about being able to expand at their original location.

According to New Hanover County property records, the original property was purchased for $855,000 in May and the additional lot was purchased for $350,000 in July.

David Branton, of Eastern Carolinas Commercial Real Estate, was the sole real estate broker involved in the July transaction, according to an ECCRE news release.

The Savards' project for the brewery includes both a renovation of the original 12,000-square-foot building and expansion with a separate building on the recently purchased property. The two-phase project is still in the works with estimated completion in 2020, Savard said.

The brewery is working with Dogwood Architecture on the designs for the new space and renovation.

“So with the current building, we are hoping to renovate and create a bigger taproom space by moving the brewing to the back of the building. We're doing some improvements to the building now that we own it,” Michelle Savard said.

Current improvements include fresh paint, a new roof and a new air conditioning unit, she said.

The planned renovation will include adding fermentation space, which will allow the brewery to can and keg more beer, Michelle Savard said.

"Right now, we are maxed out ... we are trying hard to keep up with everybody," she said about the demand for its brews.

The company is expecting to produce 3,500 barrels of beer this year, but when the two phases of the project are complete, Wilmington Brewing Co. will be closer to a 5,000-barrel annual production, Savard said.

The first phase of the project, however, will begin with adding an additional 5,000-square-foot space on the newly purchased lot, she said. The Savards aim to construct the building for a special events space.

"Our next-door lot would host an assembly hall and a parking lot as well," Michelle Savard said. "For instance, to host a birthday party or ... a wedding -- we get requests now to host here, but we don't have the space."

The new construction will allow business to continue at the brewery and allow for overflow during the renovation, with minimal closings, she said.

"We're just really excited to get the lot next door. That was huge to be able to have the opportunity to expand right here instead of having to go to a second location," Michelle Savard said. "What we have now is going great. So this is like an ongoing improvement project for us."

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