The latest gain for Asheville's South Slope Brewery District will be Biltmore Village's loss. Catawba, one of Western NC’s oldest breweries, has finally found the home for their Asheville brewery.
After two years of searching, and many stops and starts, Catawba has leased a significant portion of the old Standard Paper building at 32 Banks Avenue in the heart of the South Slope. Billy Pyatt, one of the Catawba owners, describes the journey. “Our Tasting Room in the Historic Biltmore Village has been a huge success. We have been honored by great support there, and we tried so hard to establish it as our permanent home. But two years effort and a lot of investment failed to move us forward on the Fairview Road site. Regardless, we never lost our desire to brew in Asheville, our first and largest market. So we regrouped and searched anew. It turns out there are many more options available now – including the renaissance that is Banks Avenue and the South Slope. We walked in and felt right at home there.”
Catawba plans to deploy a 7-barrel “boutique” brewery on the site. “We have owned this equipment for a while, and we will augment it with gear we have outgrown in our Morganton facility. Once up and running, we will have over 500 barrels of annual capacity in unique, specialty, and small-batch beer production at Banks. We will offer most of that for consumption in the facility, and of course, augment it with products produced in Morganton” says Kevin Sondey, Head Brewer.
In addition to the operating brewery, the preliminary plans call for significant indoor/outdoor space, two bars, a barrel-aging room, and event space. Scott Pyatt, co-owner, describes the vision. “We want the facility to be an interactive, educational brewing facility. Self-guided and hosted tours will be available, and all the brewing processes will be on display. This will be a place to enjoy a beer and learn how it all comes together.”
There will be more details released as they come available. “The schedule is a little fluid right now, but we hope to be in the building this fall. We don’t even have plans or sketches to share right now, but we wanted to start getting the word out”, said Billy. “This is a beer town, and people need to know what we’re up to!”
With Catawba soon to be setting up shop in the South Slope, that brings the total number of breweries to seven, as they join Asheville Brewing, Hi-Wire, Burial, Green Man, Wicked Weed, and Twin Leaf (who will be their closest neighbor). Cheers and welcome to Catawba Brewing Company!