By Tim Rutherford
Hendersonville, NC -- If you have a fantasy about founding a craft brewery, check in with Andy Cubbin of Hendersonville, NC, Southern Appalachian Brewery. He will share a story of a shifting landscape.
“I don't think we could start up today like we did five years ago, Ady said. “We had six taps and only three of the beers were ours. That won't work today.”
The stars aligned for the former home brewer. He, and his wife and partner Kelly, found their 15-barrel brewing system for a second hand price – but it had never been used. Fully loaded with gleaming stainless steel tanks, the couple set sights on a location.
“We thought we wold move to Asheville,” Kelly said. “But as more and more breweries came on there, we eventually settled in Henderson County – we were the first brewery here.”
Pioneering craft beer brewing in Hendersonville wasn't without its own challenges. Having a tasting room – a mainstay of small breweries – ran afoul of the county's ban on alcohol sales.
“We had to be a private club at first – until the county began allowing alcohol sales two years ago,” Kelly said. The status was apparently not a deterrent – the brewery had 5,100 “club” members.
Today, after a coupe of name changes and a formal distribution agreement, Andy says production is slated to hit about 2,000 barrels this year and growing the market into South Carolina is in the plans. Loyalty to flagship labels Copperhead – an amber ale – and Black Bear – a robust, malty stout – still runs high as Andy anticipates new seasonal and specialty beers in the coming year.
“I don't have a canning or bottling line and can't see ever doing that. I'm comfortable maxing out around 3,500 barrels,” he said.
Go to the party
Before more beer is made, there is this anniversary on April 30 to consider. The couple is kicking the annual celebration up a notch this year with a new stage and improved courtyard. In addition to beer, food and live music, Ton Up Highlands teams with the brewery for the Fifth Annual Meltdown Vintage Motorcycle Show. More than 1,000 vintage bikes coming from six states are expected in Hendersonville for the annual gathering.
For full information on all the weekend events, visit the brewery website.
Southern Appalachian Brewery
822 Locust St., Ste 100, Hendersonville
Tim Rutherford produces HunrgyMansGuide.com from his home base in Asheville, NC. He is a freelance writer, photographer, social media content producer and marketing campaign developer. Send him a note at email@example.com.