Do You Truly Connect with Your Markets?

Billy Pyatt said that Catawba Brewing has never wavered from desiring an intimate connection to the markets that his North Carolina brewery is in.

The Morganton, NC brewery recently launched its fourth location in the state, a new production facility and taproom in Charlotte.

“This isn’t a new thing for us. We try to learn from, and contribute to, every region we serve,” the brewery’s co-owner said. “Our decisions are based on where we want to be and how we stay connected and relevant in markets we serve. We love areas with great beer culture — successful breweries, supportive local and regional media, great home-brew clubs, and supportive demographics excite us.”

Those attributes are what also saw the brewery open spots in Asheville as well in 2014.

Even though building brewhouses and production facilities would seem old hat for the brewery that opened in 1999, not so said Pyatt. Pitfalls can happen at anytime and adjustments can be costly.

“We learn something new every time,” he said. “In Charlotte, for instance, our bars were basically built. The management team came in, evaluated their placement, and had them moved. It was the right thing to do, but it cost a lot.

“From now on, we draw everything on paper AND on the facility floor.”

It has also become a rite of passage for each of the brewery’s brewhouses to be put through its paces with a batch of the brewery’s Revenuers Red.

The malt-forward amber-colored ale has been a Catawba staple since 1999. It was the first beer brewed in the new Asheville facility and it became the first beer to go into the tanks in Charlotte.

“Our brewers had no trouble getting reacquainted to this particular 10-barrel system, since it had been in use in Morganton through December, 2015,” the brewery shared in a recent newsletter. “Before we upgraded to our new 30-barrel Sprinkman system, the old brewhouse was pushed to max capacity, running about 15 times every week.”

Pyatt said it takes a designer’s eye and an engineer’s practicality, in concert, to build a brewery.

“Our designer visualizes ways to integrate Catawba’s culture, style, and values into the vibe of the city or neighborhood,” he said. “And our engineers find a way to roll that vision into a beer-making production facility that is capable of great consumer service and flow. When it works, it’s beautiful.”

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