Lexington Avenue Brewery has been sold to the CANarchy Craft Brewery Collective that includes such brands as Oskar Blues Brewery and Cigar City Brewing. Oskar Blues senior marketing manager Aaron Baker says the property at 39 N. Lexington Ave. will close at the end of 2018, at which point LAB is “discontinuing operation.” The space will reopen in March 2019 as The CANarchy Collaboratory, which Baker refers to as “a new taproom concept” that incorporates numerous opportunities for collaborations across beer, food, music and more.
“After nine years at LAB and with a new baby at home, I’m looking for a change,” says brewery owner Mike Healy in a CANarchy press release. “I believe I’m leaving LAB in good hands with CANarchy — they have experience running successful brewpubs. Plus, they’ll put time and resources into creating exciting new brews and experiences for craft beer drinkers in Asheville.”
Current LAB employees will have the opportunity for employment at the Collaboratory prior to its opening. “We’re going to need lots of help with this project and we’re stoked to get started,” Baker says.
According to the press release, The Collaboratory “will specialize in cutting-edge flavors and brewing methods, as well as creating limited-edition, small-batch collab beers from leading craft breweries both in Asheville and throughout the country. The space will also feature projects between top chefs, artists and musicians across the Asheville community. CANarchy plans to invest in significant renovations to the current layout that will allow for increased seating and brewing capacity.”
Wayne Wambles, brewmaster for Cigar City, will lead the brewing side at The Collaboratory. A veteran of over 150 collaborative beers, he says in the press release that he understands the value such offerings provide brewers and consumers.
“It’s a mutual exploration of culture, raw materials and process that exceeds the act of simply breaking bread with friends and colleagues,” Wambles says. “The Collaboratory will be a platform for innovation through collaboration, whether local, national or international. Plus, it will allow us to innovate with our own in-house brands and projects among breweries within CANarchy.”
The other current CANarchy breweries are Perrin Brewing Co., Squatters Craft Beers, Wasatch Brewery, Deep Ellum Brewing Co. and Three Weavers Brewing Co.