Eric Wagner spent more than two decades turning wastewater into drinking water.
Now he’s taking his love of science in another direction: beer brewing.
Wagner, 45, has opened Apex’s first brewery.
Brüeprint Brewing Co. opened this month inside an industrial park complex off of Perry Road.
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The 5,000-square-foot facility can produce about 2,000 barrels of beer a year.
Getting the right mix of chemicals to cook into a good beer is a delicate balance. And it isn’t that different from trying to get the right balance for clean water, Wagner said.
“For me it’s the blend of science, cooking and the creativity of it,” he said. “When you think about it, beer has been part of civilization as far back as we know it.”
Wagner’s love of brewing started about seven years ago when his sister-in-law bought him an at-home beer kit. After his first batch, he was hooked.
“I wanted to get into my own recipes and the whole process,” he said.
Wagner brewed some beer for his neighbors and knew from their response that it was time to make it a business venture, not just a hobby. In September, he quit his job as an engineer to focus full time on opening the brewery.
“My neighbors kept knocking on the doors and I couldn’t make it fast enough,” said Wagner, who lives in Holly Springs. “They were saying, ‘This is better than most beers out there.’ People kept coming back.”
Brüeprint makes four year-round beers, three seasonal sports-themed beers, one winter holiday beer and two summer brews. All of them have “Brüe” in the name – BrüeDiamond, for the start of baseball season, Brüenette, Jingle Brüe.
The Brüenette, a brown ale, is also available at Tyler’s Tap Room in Apex.
As an engineer, Wagner worked with blueprints and wanted to use a play on words with “brew.” His wife came up with the unusual spelling for Brüeprint to give it a European flair.
Wagner doesn’t want customers to simply drink his beer – he wants them to have fun doing it. The brewery has board games so customers can interact and get to know each other.
“A few years ago my wife and I were out at dinner and we saw this couple texting on their phones,” Wagner said. “I’m sure it wasn’t to each other. The idea of our tasting room is to bring people together.”
It seems to be working.
“A few days after we opened we had a couple come in and they played cards all night,” he said. “They didn’t go anywhere near their phones.”
Because Brüeprint doesn’t have its own restaurant, customers are welcome to bring their own food. Some take-out menus are available, and customers can order in.
On Thursdays and Saturday nights, food trucks set up outside the tap room.
“We’re trying to make it feel like home,” Wagner said.
Brüeprint is the latest brewery to open in western Wake County. Of the 16 breweries in Wake, five are on the western edge.
In addition to Brüeprint, there is Fortnight Brewing in Cary, Carolina Brewing Co. and Bombshell Beer Co. in Holly Springs, and Aviator Brewing Co. in Fuquay-Varina. There is another brewery in the works in Fuquay-Varina, Draft Line Brewing Co.