Outer Dunes Brewing, a brewery and event space, is set to occupy the property that formerly housed Liberty Tavern at 7976 Market St. in Wilmington.
Husband and wife team Phil and Ellie Mabe, both originally from the Cape Fear region, have returned after a decade in the Lake Tahoe area, where they both worked at breweries in various capacities.
The Neal Family Qualified Trust purchased the 1.65-acre property near the end of January for a little over $1.5 million from Oceans 10 LLC, according to the deed, and the Mabes are leasing it from the trust.
“We’ve always wanted to open a brewery in our hometown,” Ellie Mabe said. “After college at UNC we went to Lake Tahoe for what was supposed to be a ski season, but ended up being there for 10 years. It was such a beautiful place to live, but we were ready to return to the beach.”
Ellie Mabe said she and Phil are amazed at how Wilmington’s brewing scene has grown while they were living out West.
“Wilmington has become such a beer destination, and we’re very excited to be a part of that,” Mabe said. “When it comes to breweries, there is definitely strength in numbers.”
Outer Dunes will start out as a nano-brewery, brewing just a couple of their own beers and serving a variety of drafts from other local breweries, as well as wine and champagne.
The plan is to eventually erect another building on the property that will allow for the installation of a 10-barrel brewing system.
Phil Mabe will serve as head brewer for the operation, while Ellie Mabe will focus on operating the taproom and organizing events. While restrictions on large public gatherings could cap events at around 25 people for much of 2021, the space will eventually be able to accommodate up to 150 guests, and is ideal for indoor-outdoor gatherings.
“We love the space as it is, the character of the building and the woodwork,” Ellie Mabe said. “We’ll do a little updating but plan to keep the integrity of the property and grounds.”
The Mabes hope to open Outer Dunes Brewing by late spring or early summer.
Allan Fox and Glenn Imboden of Coldwell Banker Commercial Sun Coast Partners represented the seller in 7976 Market St. transaction while P.J. Doherty of Carolina Commercial Investment Properties represented the buyer.
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Cece Nunn contributed to this report.