WILMINGTON — Owning a craft brewery might seem like an unattainable goal for most people, but owning a piece of one just got easier thanks to Tidewater Brewing Company.
Located in the so-called Soda Pop District in Wilmington, Tidewater Brewing is set to become the region’s first co-op brewery, offering ownership opportunities for the everyday beer connoisseur for just $200.
Ethan Hall, a former city firefighter and co-owner of Tidewater Brewing Company knows his way around a brewery, he is the former owner of Azalea Coast Brewery from 2004-2008.
Due to health issues, Hall made the decision to close the brewery. After closing Azalea Coast, Hall played many roles at Ironclad Brewery including head brewer and chief operating officer.
Now, with Tidewater Hall hopes to engage the community in more ways than one.
What is a co-op brewery?
As a cooperative, the public has the opportunity to purchase an ownership share of the company. This allows the public to help invest in a local brewery and gives the brewery a chance to build the necessary revenue to construct its building.
“We started looking at various ways to raise the funds we need to build a brewery here. We have our money that we put in it already and we had some friends of John make an investment, but we still need money … We started researching cooperatives and there’s already two cooperatives in North Carolina. We started thinking about it and cooperatives are such that they are owned somewhat by the community, so your patrons, the people that you’re serving products to have a little bit of a vested interest in it,” Hall said.
As of last week, Tidewater Brewing began offering the public a chance to purchase a share in the company for $200, but what does this mean for the purchaser? There are several perks to becoming an owner at Tidewater. They include the ability to claim foundering ownership status of a brewery, owners-only events, discounts, and dividends of preferred shares.
Tidewater Brewing is located in the former garage of Coca-Cola on Princess Street. Tidewater is part of the first phase of a proposed mixed-use development in the region that would include restaurants, a grocery store, office and retail space, and a number of residential units.
The building is just under 9,000-square-feet and will have a 2,300-square-foot taproom for guests, along with 20,000-square-feet of fenced in, exterior space. Hall said he hopes to hold future events like live music outdoors once things get up and running.
Tidewater’s co-owners are shooting for a June opening date, and Hall already has the necessary brewing equipment ready to be installed. The entire building is currently under renovation as the owners outfit the location, and bring it up to code.
According to Tidewater’s website, “We offer a wide variety of beers, but specialize in English-styled ales and German-styled lagers. Our flagship offering, a Munich Helles lager, won a gold medal in the 2016 Carolina Championship of Beers. We also like to push the edges of the envelope by offering IPAs and other weird and wonderful options that are sure to make hop heads, and anyone, happy.”
Those interested in becoming a founding owner or learning more about the co-op brewery, information and the shares can be found online.
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