New brew­ery com­ing to South End this spring

The Charlotte Observer (Sunday) - - Local - BY KATHERINE PER­ALTA kper­[email protected]­lot­teob­server.com Katherine Per­alta: 704-358-5079, @katieper­alta

Char­lotte’s craft beer boom is not show­ing any signs of slow­ing.

A new brew­ery called Lower Left Brew­ing Co. will open this spring in Lower South End, a boom­ing part of town that’s seen sev­eral new busi­nesses move in re­cently, from the Brew­ers at 4001 Yancey to Chef Alyssa’s Kitchen.

Co-own­ers Tim Cur­tis and Alex Shoen­thal signed a lease this fall on a 2,272square-foot for­mer me­chan­ics garage at 4528 Na­tions Cross­ing Road, which is around the cor­ner from GoodRoad CiderWorks and Sugar Creek Brew­ing Com­pany.

In an in­ter­view this week, Cur­tis and Shoen­thal said con­struc­tion will be­gin this month on the build­ing, which has four large roll-up garage doors that will lead to an out­door pa­tio once the project is wrapped up. Lower Left will fea­ture a seven-bar­rel cus­tom-made brew­house, as well as a 900-square foot tap­room with seat­ing for about 50 cus­tomers.

Shoen­thal de­scribes the in­te­rior of the space as “nice and quaint, with lots of per­son­al­ity.

“We wanted our place to feel like home,” said Shoen­thal, for­mer head brewer at River­men Brew­ing Com­pany in Bel­mont.

Lower Left will have 18 ro­tat­ing taps of “a mix of modern trendy beers” that will range from trop­i­cal IPAs to farm­house ales, said Shoen­thal, who will act as head brewer. He added that Lower Left will also “cater to the dark beer crowd” with brews like stouts and porters.

“We’re filling a niche that we thought was lack­ing in that part of Char­lotte,” Shoen­thal said of the beer se­lec­tion at Lower Left.

Cur­tis and Shoen­thal chose Lower South End be­cause of its grow­ing pop­u­lar­ity as a craft beer des­ti­na­tion. Not long ago filled with run-down in­dus­trial build­ings and ware­houses, the neigh­bor­hood, walk­a­ble to the Blue Line light rail line, now has a half-dozen brew­eries, bars, cideries and dis­til­leries, with even more busi­nesses planned to come.

The brew­ery’s name is a nod to its ge­o­graphic place­ment within South End, the two said.

Brew­eries have been open­ing rapidly all over Char­lotte in re­cent years, es­pe­cially near the light rail.

A brew­ery called Pro­tag­o­nist Club­house will open in the for­mer NoDa Gro­cery spot on North David­son this year, for in­stance. A new brew­ery called Ar­mored Cow will also open soon near the JW Clay light rail stop near UNC Char­lotte.

But the city still has room for more brew­eries, Cur­tis and Shoen­thal said.

“I’ve been met with noth­ing but good­will from other brew­ers, and I see the (brew­ery) com­mu­nity as a whole be­ing sup­port­ive,” Cur­tis said. “The more the mer­rier for all in­tents and pur­poses.”

Asheville, well-known as a craft beer des­ti­na­tion, has a pop­u­la­tion about one­tenth that of Char­lotte and has about 26 brew­eries, ac­cord­ing to a re­cent anal­y­sis by Forbes. If Char­lotte had that same sat­u­ra­tion, there would be around 260 brew­eries here.

“The prover­bial (brew­ery) bub­ble ev­ery­one talks about has yet to break,” Shoen­thal said.

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