Hi-Wire Brewing announces major expansion

Mountain Xpress file photo

In September, Hi-Wire announced it had grown 135 percent since opening its doors just over a year before. In order to keep pace, the company was planning to enter a contract brewing agreement with Lazy Magnolia Brewing Co. in Mississippi.

The contract brewing arrangement meant that Hi-Wire would pay Lazy Magnolia and work with that company to brew and bottle some of Hi-Wire’s flagship beers. Owners Adam Charnack and Chris Frosaker both stressed that contract brewing was part of a larger plan, and that it’s frequently a strategy used by breweries as they grow. (Highland and Green Man have both used contract brewing to bridge gaps in production as facilities were built to keep up with demand.)

What that press release didn’t mention was the other half of the equation: How would Hi-Wire ever produce enough beer at its current downtown location? That building is already about as packed as it can be with the brewhouse and fermentation tanks.

Hi-Wire is now unveiling the answer: They are keeping their primary location at 197 Hilliard Avenue and adding a second production facility “right in the middle of town … though we’re not ready to let that cat out of the bag yet,” says Charnack. The new facility will reportedly give them about 20,000 square feet of additional space.

In conjunction with the Buncombe County Commission, Asheville City Council and the Economic Development Coalition for Asheville-Buncombe County, Hi-Wire announced it is investing $1.62 million in a new brewing facility and equipment and will add approximately 15 jobs.

This will allow the brewery to increase capacity from 4,000 to 17,000 barrels per year, with the potential to eventually produce up to 50,000 barrels per year. The new facility will include a new bottling line as well as a tasting room.

Hi-Wire says the Hilliard Ave tasting room will increase its focus on special releases, including barrel-aged beer.

“We are grateful to the city of Asheville and Buncombe County for their support. And we wouldn’t be where we are today without all of our loyal fans in Asheville and across North Carolina. We’re excited about the opportunity to produce a lot more of our popular Hi-Wire lager and flagship beers,” says Charnack.

 

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About Thom O'Hearn
Thom O’Hearn is a writer, book editor and homebrewer. Twitter: @thomohearn

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