The Canarchy Craft Brewery Collective is expanding its presence in North Carolina.
The Fireman Capital-backed brewery rollup — which includes Oskar Blues, Cigar City, Deep Ellum Brewing, Three Weavers, Perrin Brewing and the Utah Brewers Cooperative (Wasatch and Squatters) — today announced plans to open a brewpub — in Asheville, about 30 miles north of Oskar Blues’ production facility in Brevard.
Dubbed “The Canarchy Collaboratory,” the new outpost will occupy the soon-to-close Lexington Avenue Brewery (LAB) space.
Canarchy president Matt Fraser told Brewbound that LAB would likely continue operating through the end of the year, and that Canarchy would take over the space on January 2. The company plans to reopen the location in March 2019 after undergoing renovations.
“For the Oskar Blues brand, North Carolina became our second biggest state pretty much over night after building the brewery,” he said. “We want to be big in our backyards. North Carolina is a home market for Canarchy, and it’s a fantastic community with a lot of tourism. And it’s a great beer town.”
In a press release, LAB owner Mike Healy explained that he was “looking for a change” after running the brewpub for nine years and recently becoming a father.
“I believe I’m leaving LAB in good hands with Canarchy – they have experience running successful brewpubs,” said Healy, who will now be Canarchy’s landlord. “Plus, they’ll put time and resources into creating exciting new brews and experiences for craft beer drinkers in Asheville.”
According to Fraser, Canarchy will make a “substantial investment” to increase the brewing capacity by 15 percent and more than double the seating capacity in a move that will enable the company to serve upwards of 250 guests at a time.
“We’re doing a full remodel of the place, so we’ll be investing some good dollars,” said Fraser, who declined to share specific financial details.
Leading the operation will be Cigar City brewmaster Wayne Wambles, who lives in North Carolina. Wambles had been splitting time between Cigar City’s Tampa facility and Oskar Blues’ Brevard location, while also traveling the globe to create collaboration beers.
“So Wayne’s day-to-day isn’t going to change drastically from what it is now,” Fraser said. “He’ll hopefully be doing a lot of those collaborations from partnerships across the globe in Asheville itself, in the Collaboratory.”
“Having brewed well over 150 collaborations in my career, I know the value that those projects bring to both drinkers and brewers,” Wambles said, via a press release. “It’s a mutual exploration of culture, raw materials and process that exceeds the act of simply breaking bread with friends and colleagues.”
When The Collaboratory opens in March, the pub’s 20 taps will pour existing Canarchy core products (such as Cigar City Jai Alai and Oskar Blues Dale’s Pale Ale), existing collaboration beers and limited-edition, small-batch collaborations from breweries in the Asheville area and beyond, Canarchy CMO Patrick Dougherty told Brewbound.
“There will definitely be some collabs and beers that you can only get there,” he said.
Canarchy isn’t the only craft brewery collective to launch a co-branded brewery and taproom in North Carolina.
Artisanal Brewing Ventures (ABV), the family office-backed holding company formed in early 2016 via the merger of Victory Brewing and Southern Tier, opened Brewers at 4001 Yancey in Charlotte this past summer. That facility currently brews and sells offerings from Southern Tier and Victory, and will be adding Sixpoint Brewery products following last week’s acquisition of the company.
A press release announcing The Canarchy Collaboratory project is included below.
Canarchy Craft Brewery Collective Announces Launch of Canarchy Collaboratory
New CANarchy Concept Comes to Asheville, North Carolina, in March 2019
LONGMONT, CO, NOV 15, 2018 – In an exciting development for an already robust craft beer community, The CANarchy Craft Brewery Collective will launch an innovative new concept in Asheville, NC. The new restaurant and brewpub, dubbed “The CANarchy Collaboratory,” will celebrate experimentation and collaboration in beer, food and culture. The concept will land in the Lexington Avenue Brewery (aka LAB) space in March 2019.
As the name implies, 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.
The owner of Lexington Avenue Brewery, Mike Healy said, “After nine years at LAB and with a new baby at home, I’m looking for a change. 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.”
Matt Fraser, President of CANarchy, said, “We feel that collaboration and innovation are essential to the future of the craft movement. CANarchy was founded as a collaboration between like-minded brewers dedicated to bringing high-quality, innovative flavors to drinkers in the name of craft beer. So collaboration is very much in our DNA.”
CANarchy is currently comprised of seven leading craft breweries, including Oskar Blues Brewery, Cigar City Brewing, Perrin Brewing Company, Squatters Craft Beers, Wasatch Brewery, Deep Ellum Brewing Company and Three Weavers Brewing Company.
“It’s gonna be f*cking rad,” said Oskar Blues founder Dale Katechis. “We opened our Brevard brewery back in 2012 and were immediately embraced by the great people of Western North Carolina. We look forward to planting more roots in this beautiful place and giving back by further servicing the local community.”
From a brewing perspective, The Collaboratory will be led by Wayne Wambles of Cigar City Brewing. Known and respected as one of the most progressive brewers in the world, Wambles looks forward to The Collaboratory as the next challenge in his esteemed career. “Having brewed well over one hundred and fifty collaborations in my career, I know the value that those projects bring to both drinkers and brewers. It’s a mutual exploration of culture, raw materials and process that exceeds the act of simply breaking bread with friends and colleagues. 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,” said Wambles.
But he doesn’t expect it to be easy. “It’s one thing to create one-off collaborations in your free time between day-to-day brewing operations; but to do so frequently, constantly offering new creations through collaboration and in-house innovation, will be a rewarding challenge. As brewers, we live for the opportunity to push the boundaries and discover progressive approaches to beer that we hope will excite today’s beer enthusiasts.”
The Collaboratory will open in March 2019. Opportunities for employment will be announced as they become available after the new year. Questions can be addressed to Doug Hofeling at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About CANarchy Craft Brewery Collective
Founded in 2015, CANarchy is a disruptive collective of like-minded brewers dedicated to bringing quality and innovative flavors to beer drinkers in the name of independent craft beer. The portfolio of craft breweries, partially funded by Fireman Capital Partners, including Oskar Blues Brewery, Perrin Brewing Company, Cigar City Brewing, Squatters Craft Beer and Wasatch Brewery, is challenging corporate convention to preserve independent craft beer culture. CANarchy is the #1 provider of American craft beer in a can by bringing value to distributors, retailers and beer drinkers. Cigar City Brewing Jai Alai IPA and Oskar Blues’ Dale’s Pale Ale are currently the #1 and #2 sold craft can six packs in U.S. Grocery. The CANarchy platform brewed nearly 350,000 bbls in 2017, reaching all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., parts of Canada, Puerto Rico, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Spain, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, the U.K., Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Brazil, and South Korea. https://www.canarchy.beer CANarchy was recently ranked #9 on list of the 2017 Top 50 U.S. Craft Brewers as ranked by sales volume.