Another local brewery is expanding to a different city. This time, it’s Asheville’s Hi-Wire Brewing, which is opening a location in the hot beer market of Durham.
The expansion follows similar moves by Franklin’s Currahee Brewing Co., which set up a second location in the Atlanta suburb of Alpharetta; Catawba Brewing Co. of Asheville and Morganton, which built its fourth spot in Charlotte; and Asheville’s Thirsty Monk pubs and brewery, which has opened in Denver, Colo., and Portland, Ore.
Hi-Wire co-founder Chris Frosaker says the brewery’s new Durham Fun Zone will not have a brewery, but the tasting room be heavy on recreational activities, including table tennis, shuffleboard and soccer pool.
The Fun Zone will also have 24 beer taps, including some guest brews, wine and cider. The venue, an early 20th-century building that once housed tobacco and textile operations, includes space for a covered patio and beer garden. The Fun Zone will occupy just over 9,000 square feet of the 320,000-square-foot building, which is on the National Register of Historic Places.
The rest of the space will include art galleries and offices, and the owners are looking at some potential restaurant partners as well. “Right outside of the taproom is an original Lucky Strike [cigarette] silo,” Frosaker says.
Hi-Wire beers will continued to be made and packaged in Asheville, with the original South Slope site used for specialty products and the Biltmore Village Big Top site for production beers. The brewery is already selling its entire lineup in Durham.
“The Triangle was the first market we started distributing to outside of Western North Carolina,” Frosaker says. “And it’s grown. We have a nice presence there. People know who we are. We see a lot of similarities between Asheville and Durham in terms of the vibe, the food scene and the arts. We feel at home there.”
Both markets also have similar beer tastes when it comes to Hi-Wire products. Frosaker says Hi-Pitch IPA is the brewery’s best-seller in both cities and competes in Durham with such players as Fullsteam Brewery and Ponysaurus Brewing Co.
“There is some amazing beer down there,” Frosaker says. “Both [the Asheville and Durham] markets are very educated beer drinkers. They know what they are looking for.”
Frosaker hopes to be open in Durham by October.