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TRU Colors Gears Up For Beer Production

By Christina Haley O'Neal, posted Mar 3, 2021
TRU Colors is now bringing in its brewery equipment with plans to turn out its first beer this summer. (Photo courtesy of TRU Colors)
Wilmington-based TRU Colors is officially working out of its new headquarters building and setting up its brewery with a goal to turn out beer this summer, said George Taylor, chairman and CEO of the company, this week.

TRU Colors, which aims to curtail street violence by skills training and employing local gang members within its business, has moved into its headquarters building at 715 Greenfield St. The business purchased the property, formerly the old Century Mills site, for $950,000 in 2019.

The 65-employee TRU Colors workforce -- the majority of which is connected to the local gang community -- now has its own space. The business was previously working out of the downtown headquarters of Untappd, another local tech business started by the Taylor family.

There's not an area of the company that isn't staffed with gang members or people who are in the gang community, Taylor said. 

Work to start bringing employees into the 53,000-square-foot headquarters building (pictured right) happened in November, he said.

Other components of the new headquarters facility: TRU Colors' brewery; a functioning recording studio for music, podcast and video recordings; a daycare that can hold up to 65 children; and an in-house gym, are coming, Taylor said. 

TRU Colors is holding off on plans for building a restaurant at this time, he said.

"Everything will be up and running by the end of the second quarter, except for the daycare," Taylor said. 

For its new brewery, TRU Colors is currently hauling in brewery equipment while building out other portions of its facility to continue its mission, Taylor said.

"The equipment has started showing up ... it's coming," Taylor said, adding that turnaround times for the brewery equipment have been slow due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We currently think we will have beer out the back door the first week of July," he said. "That's the target date if we don't have any more COVID-related delays. We're ready at the facility. We just don't have all the equipment."

The 34,000-square-foot brewery section of TRU Colors' headquarters will include 19 fermentation tanks (three of which are already in place) and a six-vessel, 55-barrel brewhouse, Taylor said.

Once complete, it will become one of the largest brewery facilities in the Wilmington area.

"Running two shifts, we can do about 1.3 million case equivalents a year," Taylor said. 

There will also be a fully functioning canning and kegging line on the brewery floor to package TRU Colors' beer and prepare the beer for distribution. Taylor said additional details about its distribution are coming. 

TRU Colors has also hired an experienced employee to head up the brewhouse, seasoned brewmaster Brian Faivre, the company's new vice president of brewery operations.

"Brian came from ... a large brewery on the West Coast. He's been in the business for about 20 years," Taylor said. 

Taylor declined to disclose just how much investment was going into outfitting the new headquarters and all its components.

The TRU Colors business, however, is being backed by a small group of private investors from as far away as New York and San Fransisco, he said. 

"This company has always been backed by me and other private investors. That's always been the case," Taylor said. "It's just private investors that are interested in solving the problem ... Everyone is trying to figure out how to deal with these issues, whether it's violence or racial divisiveness or poverty or education, and they see this as an opportunity to make a real impact on it at scale."
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