After a brief setback, Brice’s Brewing Company is back on track to make Garner its home and the first brewery of any kind in the town.
Kris Bengston, co-owner of the company, said he and his wife, Dana, signed the lease to the building last week. It will be at 1822 Garner Station Boulevard. The couple is ordering equipment and applying for its federal liquor license.
“It’s exhilarating, relieving all at the same time and maybe a little anxious,” Bengston said. “We’ve been planning this for two years and had a lot of obstacles, a lot of things in the way, but we’ve worked our tails off and now we’re ready.”
The couple tried to raise $50,000 in June last year through a Kickstarter program to get started. However, they did not reach the $50,000 goal to keep the money.
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However, it wasn’t all bad. Their campaign attracted some investors and with the help and support of local breweries in Raleigh, the couple was able to get the ball rolling.
“They called us and we met up and did another business deal like we’ve done with other investors,” Bengston said. “We’re just waiting on the landlord to give us a call to give us the keys.”
Bengston said he and his wife have applied for a special use permit with the town earlier this month and it is currently at the staff level. It is expected to reach the planning commission on the second Monday in April.
Bengston said the plan is to have 31 different beer styles in the first year, using local ingredients. There will be nine standard beers throughout the year, mostly Belgians, and 22 different seasonal beers.
The Beerded Lady Bottle Shop and a couple of others will be the craft brewery’s main distributors. That means customers can go to those stores and drink Brice’s Brewing Company’s product. Shannon Cummings, co-owner of the Beerded Lady Bottle Shop, said she’s excited for Garner to get its first brewery.
“I think its fantastic,” she said. “It’s long overdue for sure. I think it will broaden people’s horizons as to what craft beer is. There’s nothing like an education that you get at a brewery.”
A family atmosphere
Bengston got his start in the brewing business when his wife suggested he make his own beer. She noticed he loved it so much, she thought it would be cheaper if he just made it at home.
So Bengston went for it. He now brews his own beer and has been doing so since 2009. He’s won multiple local and regional awards for his homemade beers.
It inspired him to open his own craft brewery.
Their biggest obstacles in finally getting their brewery off the ground were getting the money and finding a location. They tried Clayton, Smithfield, Benson and downtown Garner, and none worked out. But they are happy with the location they have now, off a main thoroughfare in the town.
“We found the right spot,” Kris Bengston said.
Many other small towns including Fuquay-Varina and Clayton have had success in hopping on the brewery bandwagon.
The Bengston’s goal for their business is to have a family atmosphere.
“I just want people to feel comfortable,” Dana Bengston, who will be the company’s president, said. “Hang out for a while. I don’t think of tap rooms of breweries as bars. Come out play some board games, bring some food in, bring your kids and meet up with your friends.”
The couple hopes to be open by the summer.