A new craft beer destination has evolved in an unlikely corner of Raleigh: adjacent to the Five Points neighborhood.
Since 2006, Big Boss Brewing Co., the city’s longest-running brewery, has been pretty much all alone just north of downtown in an industrial park off Atlantic Avenue. Six years later, Sub Noir Brewing Co., a small nanobrewery, set up shop in another industrial area off Whitaker Mill Road.
Now, two more breweries have opened in the neighborhood: Nickelpoint Brewing Co. just after Labor Day 2014, and Blackjack Brewing Co. in late April. Another, Neuse River Brewing Co., hopes to open next month.
What is attracting more breweries to this corner of Raleigh?
“Warehouse space is what it is,” said David Rogers, Big Boss’ director of marketing and distribution.
What may not be known about the upscale Five Points area, where homes range from $200,000 to $2.2 million, is that it is edged by an industrial park to the southeast near Capital Boulevard.
That’s where Nickelpoint Brewing Co. owners decided to locate their production brewery and taproom on Pershing Road. (Neuse River Brewing Co. will be a few doors down.)
Shaluka Perera, one of the Nickelpoint Brewing Co. partners, said they needed a large production space as well as a location that would generate enough customers for the taproom. With thousands of homes within walking distance, Perera said, the location worked to be able to “attract a lot of foot traffic.”
The neighbors living in those thousands of homes nearby have found them, often with dogs and children in tow.
“You walk into Nickelpoint on a Friday afternoon and it’s a day care,” said Brooks Hamaker, brewer at nearby Blackjack Brewing Co.
Among those drinking outside Nickelpoint Brewing Co. on a recent Thursday night were Leah and Drew Tonissen of Raleigh, who had brought along their 13-year-old yellow Labrador retriever. On previous visits, Drew Tonissen said, they had noticed lots of families. “It’s not OK to take a kid to a bar, but it is OK to take a kid to a brewery.”
Leah Tonissen added: “It’s a great community; not a lot of places exist where people feel safe to bring kids and dogs.”
Hamaker and Blackjack’s owner Ed Wenda, a former North Raleigh dentist, hope to see a similar scene at their taproom.
Blackjack Brewing Co. is the first tenant to open in the 180,000-square-foot former A&P distribution center at Whitaker Mill Road and Atlantic Avenue. The brewery has some outdoor seating, but Wenda plans to add more seating, covered and uncovered, outside the 2,500-square-foot taproom.
“We’re going to have the same thing here,” said Hamaker, who has previously worked at Big Boss and Durham’s Fullsteam brewery.
The new breweries could see it was possible based on what Big Boss had achieved, attracting customers not only with their craft beer but with run clubs, food trucks and other special events.
Big Boss’ Rogers said, “It proved if you build it, they will come.”
Visit the breweries
Big Boss Brewing Co.
Opened in 2006 by Geoff Lamb and brewer Brad Wynn, it is Raleigh’s longest-running brewery.
Info: 1249 Wicker Drive, Raleigh, 919-834-0045, bigbossbrewing.com
Blackjack Brewing Co.
Opened April 24, it is owned by Ed Wenda, a former North Raleigh dentist. Brewer Brooks Hamaker used to work for Abita Brewing Co. in New Orleans, Fullsteam in Durham and Big Boss Brewing Co. in Raleigh.
Info: 1053 E. Whitaker Mill Road, Raleigh, blackjackbrewing.com
Nickelpoint Brewing Co.
Opened in September, it is a collaboration between brothers Bruce and Matt Corregan, who brew the beer, Shaluka Perera and Mark Kanczak.
Info: 506 Pershing Road, Raleigh, 919-916-5961, nickelpointbrewing.com
Neuse River Brewing Co.
Owned by friends Ryan Kolarov, David Powell and Ethan Barbee. They hope to open this summer and will focus on producing Belgian-style ales.
Info: 518 Pershing Road, Raleigh, neuseriverbrewing.com
Sub Noir Brewing Co.
Started in 2013 by Michael Stagner and Brennan Watson, avid homebrewers and college friends.
Info: 2039 Progress Court, Raleigh, 919-480-2337, subnoir.net