NoDa Brewing Company, a Charlotte-based craft beer company, is developing a new bar in Chapel Hill. The official opening of the new location is scheduled for September 16 at 1118 Environ Way.
The company has partnered with the former owners of Old East Tavern to open NoDa Brewing Company Tapas. Patrons of Old East Tavern will order from an updated menu in the new bar, which offers a full-service bar as well as small plates.
Jacob Virgil, director of strategic development for NoDa, said demand for a NoDa location in the Triangle region has been high for some time.
Currently, there are 386 craft breweries in North Carolina. Dave Tollefsen, a member of the NC Beer Guys group — a platform where beer lovers can explore breweries across the state — said there’s a strong craft beer culture in North Carolina.
Virgil said he was optimistic that the collaboration with the owners of Old East Tavern would be fruitful.
“We have a lot of ties to Chapel Hill,” Virgil said. “I went to school there, our head brewer is from Chapel Hill and our sales manager is from Chapel Hill. So they have a lot of good connections there and it’s just a growing market. That makes sense to us.
Lewis Hendricks, co-owner of Old East Tavern and now NoDa Brewing Co. Tapas, said he looks forward to the variety of NoDa beers that will be on tap.
“I’ve always had a lot of NoDa beers on tap, but now we’ll be NoDa beers exclusively, and we’ll have some of the releases that only come out to breweries,” Hendricks said.
For the next two weeks before the grand opening, the NoDa Brewing Co. Tapas chef will craft the menu. Hendricks said he hoped to post photos of some of the small plates while waiting to entice future customers.
The company said it brought in a chef who specializes in pairings and tapas, using locally sourced ingredients including meats, seafood and produce.
He added that he believed the passion for brewing had grown and more and more home brewers were realizing they could participate in the process.
In May 2019, North Carolina lawmakers passed House Bill 363 to increase brewers’ distribution rights in North Carolina. The previous ceiling of 25,000 barrels per year has been raised to 100,000 barrels per year.
NoDa and several other local breweries lobbied for passage of the bill. With the new law, breweries now have more flexibility to expand their locations.
Henricks added that beer laws are better in North Carolina than elsewhere in the Southeast, giving craft breweries room to grow.
“There are many Charlotte transfers to Chapel Hill who know the NoDa brand and are excited about the new location,” he said. “What keeps coming back to me is the word fun. It’s going to be a fun place, a comfortable setting and all the food and drink will be good.”
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