Fuquay-Varina’s already thriving brewery scene is about to get more crowded.
Lincoln Brewing Company has begun a soft opening at its taphouse and restaurant on U.S. 401 north of town, and Fainting Goat Brewing plans to open its taphouse sometime in August, in the Fuquay downtown district.
They join Draft Line Brewing and Aviator Brewing Company, giving the town of 25,000 residents four microbreweries. Aviator has been serving the area since 2008, and Draft Line recently celebrated its one-year anniversary.
By comparison, Raleigh has about a dozen breweries and 450,000 residents.
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Owners of the two new breweries don’t seem to mind the competition and say the existing breweries have been supportive.
“The philosophy of the wine business is the more you have in an area, the more people you’re likely to attract,” said MaryAnn Durborrow, the business manager for Fainting Goat. “I was pleasantly surprised to find the same in the beer business.”
Richard Camos, who owns Lincoln Brewing, also said he’s not worried about fighting for customers with other local breweries. Many people, he said, see breweries as tourist destinations and are willing to drive miles to check out the new place or visit a favorite establishment.
Camos has an extensive history in the service industry in New York and North Carolina. He owns a half-dozen restaurants around Wake County, including Camos Brothers Pizza. He also owns Lincoln Bottle Shop, which has locations in Raleigh and Morrisville. The brewery is a spinoff of the bottle shop.
Durborrow said she was thinking about opening a winery before Tim Reichert and Tim Potwora approached her about a brewery. Reichert and Potwora are helicopter crewman with the N.C. National Guard who wanted to start the brewery as a transition into post-military life.
Reichert said they have met with Aviator owner Mark Doble, who offered guidance, and Draft Line owners Scott Palmieri and Scott Wood, who offered them a tour of their facility.
“They’ve actually been very supportive,” he said.
The newcomers say they’ll be able to make a name for themselves with creative recipes.
Camos, a native of Queens, N.Y., who rides motorcycles and sports a colorful beer-themed tattoo on one forearm, said Lincoln beers won’t be typical lagers and ales. He’s working on a jalapeño IPA, for example.
“I like extremes,” he said. “Sours, high-gravity stouts, things like that.”
The brewmasters at Fainting Goat also have a fondness for motorcycles and adventurous beers. One favorite from their homebrewing days is their Fluffernutter stout – a liquid version of the classic peanut butter and marshmallow fluff sandwich.
To start, though, they plan to focus on three flagship styles – a Hefeweizen, an IPA and a pomegranate-honey wheat beer. The pomegranate-honey wheat “is going to be what really sets us apart,” Potwora said.
Reichert said they’re only starting out with a few beers of their own on tap, to try to perfect them before adding new options.
“Reputation’s so important in this business,” he said.
“I’m in this for the beer, man,” he said. “If it was only about money, I’d just open another pizza place.”
Lincoln Brewing is behind the Fuquay-Varina location of Camos Brothers Pizza, just south of the John Hiester Chevrolet dealership on U.S. 401.
The taphouse tables are suitable for dates or family meals, plus there are leather couches, a fully stocked bar and a full kitchen. In the back is a room with pool tables, air hockey and arcade games.
Camos also is putting in outdoor seating and expanding the parking lot. He bought the naming rights for the entire shopping center that houses the brewery, he said, with plans to name it after the Lincoln brand.
In other words, he has gone all-in betting that people will want to try his beer in a town with both new and well-known competitors.
“People drive out,” he said. “It’s a destination, not like a pizza place where you’re working with a five-mile radius. Already we get people from Raleigh, from Apex.”
Correction: MaryAnn Durborrow’s name was incorrectly spelled in previous version of this story.
Doran: 919-460-2604; Twitter: @will_doran
Fuquay-Varina’s newest breweries
Location: Opening later this summer at 330 S. Main St., Fuquay-Varina
Eats: To be provided by food trucks
Location: 2912 N. Main St., #100, Fuquay-Varina
Hours: Noon to 10 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday; Noon to midnight, Friday and Saturday. Open Sundays during the NFL season.
Eats: Full menu offered