Staying Focused on ​Your Neighborhood For Success

Phil​ Buchy wanted to open a brewpub. Beer and food paired together is ‘heavenly’ he told Brewer Magazine.

So after a few “swings and misses,” as he puts it, Buchy set up shop in his adopted hometown of Charlotte and opened a neighborhood brewpub. Three years later, Legion Brewing is pumping out 7,000 barrels of draft-only products spread out between ​the brewery’s two locations along with accounts in the city.

“If you do the math and you add all of the Charlotte breweries combined — like 40 — our volume is less than 2 percent of the market,” Buchy said. “There is plenty of room to grow for all of us.”

That means a larger chunk of Legion’s output is focused on its two brewpubs, which house many events to cater to all kinds of people in the neighborhoods they are located — the original Plaza Midwood location and the recently opened SouthPark facility.

“It just made sense,” Buchy said during a recent sit down and chat at the Plaza Midwood location. “We enjoy being part of the neighborhood fabric as we are here in Plaza Midwood and we saw a need in SouthPark and there isn’t a brewery offering over there.”

It was the day after a Carolina Panthers game right before Thanksgiving. The brewery hosts a watch party and even before the last whistle blew on the game, another event was taking place to bring in a different clientele as the Midwood Market started. There patrons could buy hand-crafted gifts, soaps and art among many other opportunities.

“We are always doing stuff like that. The bigger we get — quote-unquote — the more we’ll be able to do,” he said. “It takes overhead from management for those ideas. Our staff is doing an awesome job of that. And the more staff we’re able to bring on the more community outreach we will be able to do.

“We focus on the neighborhoods. I’d say 80 percent of our customers are walk-up traffic from the neighborhood. We’re part of the community here and in the microcosm of the neighborhood. We wanted to be a community gathering spot for the neighborhood and we feel like we’ve achieved that.”

​A lot of ​the brewery’s food pairings are​ by accident​, but a lot of it is intentional.

​”​At least half of the food has our beer used in it​,” he said​​, pointing to using beer in a marinate or ​their homemade pickles.

​”All of the hops that we use in Juicy J ​(IPA) ​we use as a spice during the pickle-making process,” he pointed out​​. “There are​ Juicy J pickles ​literally​,​ hopped pickles.

​”​But also our beers are really flavorful and we make sure that we have a wide lineup. A clean ​Pilsner to a dark, roasty​ Stout to ​S​our​s​​ and​ barreled​ beer​s​. We really try to look at it as a culinary lineup to make sure that we’ve got something on a full spectrum of flavors paired with our menu.​”​

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