Tapping into resources: Brewery receives $60K grant

June 30, 2016

Something is brewing in Uptown Greenville… or will be brewing as soon as the Uptown Brewing Co. opens for business.

The brewery at 418 Evans St., scheduled to open in the fall, will be the first full-production brewery in Greenville.

“We are planning to have a soft opening in October,” co-owner Benjamin Self said. “We will start brewing about six weeks before then, so we should be in production around late August.”

Self said he got involved in the craft beer industry soon after earning a chemical engineering degree in 2007 from the University of Alabama.

“I worked as a research engineer for about a year before the recession hit, and I lost my job,” Self said. “I started thinking about what I was passionate about, and brewing beer was the answer.”

During the next few years, Self learned the brewing business from friends in his hometown of Birmingham, Ala. He later provided quality control services to breweries up and down the East Coast before working at the Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery in Farmville.

After about 18 months with Duck-Rabbit, Self said he and his business partners started looking to open a brewery in Uptown Greenville.

“We see Uptown Greenville as a place that is on the verge of rapid growth,” Self said. “This location is one that will have spaceful, walkable retail in the future, and we feel like we can really tap into a group of younger professionals and students in the area.”

More than $460,000 is being invested in renovating the building on Evans Street, which was constructed in the 1930s and had been vacant for about 30 years. Self said the city’s Office of Economic Development helped the brewery obtain a grant from the state to assist in the renovations.

Last week, the brewery received a $60,000 Building Reuse Grant, which is intended for the renovation of vacant properties. Under the grant’s terms, the Uptown Brewery Co. must commit to creating at least 12 full-time jobs during the next two years.

“We met with the owners of the Uptown Brewery Company about two months ago,” Roger Johnson, Greenville’s economic development manager, said. “They wanted to learn about what type of grants might be available to them. The Office of Economic Development served as an advocate and helped them fill out the application.”

Johnson said businesses like microbreweries are a good fit in areas undergoing redevelopment efforts and are well-suited for funds like the Building Reuse Grant.

“Historically, breweries are great tenants for adaptive reuse of old buildings that are in need of repair,” Johnson said. “It has a place-making component. They tend to make surrounding property values rise.”

Johnson said during the past few years, the city has assisted a number of local businesses in obtaining funding from the state through Building Reuse Grants, Job Development Investment Grants and the One North Carolina Fund.

“A lot of people do not realize what types of assistance is available to them,” Johnson said. “We can help these business find and obtain funding. … That’s what we are here for.”

Johnson said the City of Greenville also provides assistance through grant and incentive programs like the Capital Investment Grant and the Small Business Plan Competition.

More than 30 businesses have received funds through the Small Business Plan Competition since the grant program was started in 2009, helping create 102 full-time and 227 part-time jobs in the city.

Self said the Uptown Brewing Co. is submitting an application for the Small Business Plan Competition as well.

“Roger and his staff have been invaluable,” Self said. “We never would have known how to navigate this process without their help. The city has been wonderful in helping us get things started.”

For more information on available local and state business grants, contact the Office of Economic Development at 329-4502.

 

Contact Shannon Keith at skeith@reflector.com and 329-9575

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