by Eric Ginsburg
It is said that everyone wants to be first to be second.
An entire decade passed with Natty Greene’s as the lone beacon of official craft beer on Greensboro’s shore, with solemn outposts like Liberty and Foothills in High Point and Winston-Salem respectively. That era is no more.
In the span of about a week, the Triad learned of plans for a new brewery to join the ranks in High Point, and on Monday another voice bolstered the chorus: Wise Man Brewing aims to open in downtown Greensboro before the year is out.
Three breweries joined the ranks in 2014, all of them in Greensboro, with two opening their doors before the ball dropped again and the last intending to invite in the public in two month’s time. With news of the impending Wise Man Brewing, broken by Triad City Beat this week shortly after a somewhat off-the-radar-launch party in Oak Ridge, the number of breweries in the three cities — seriously planned or actualized — has risen to 11.
There are still a few significant ifs in the plans for Wise Man, a brewery technically founded in 2014 by Sam Victory, Jason Morehead and Mike Beverly. The biggest is whether developer Andy Zimmerman, who has become a guardian angel of sorts to Greensboro’s beer lovers for his role in ushering breweries into downtown, will close on the Gate City Motors building. If the deal is finalized on the property at downtown’s northeastern edge, Wise Man Brewing will most likely be one of Zimmerman’s tenants.
“We’re excited to bring our own unique style to the growing brewery scene in Greensboro,” owner Sam Victory said, “and hope to help develop some brewery tourism in downtown Greensboro in the coming years.”
That style will be based on his homebrewing experience of nearly a decade, which Victory has run under the name Oak Ridge Brewing since 2008. He also has a doctorate in chemistry and has worked in the pharmaceutical industry doing drug discovery for 20 years, a path he plans to leave later this year to focus on Wise Man.
While there are still questions to be answered, Victory and his partners have already hammered out a vision.
“We will start out serving in our tap room, distributing kegs to local restaurants and bars and having limited-release bottles,” Victory said. “A full bottling/canning line is not in our initial plans, but we definitely hope to grow to that level eventually. We plan on distributing our beer to local bars and restaurants in the Triad and eventually beyond.”
While Wise Man doesn’t plan to serve food, Victory said the idea of local craft beers fits well with the local food movement. They’re still figuring out which of their brews will be mainstays, though he said some of the popular beers from the launch event including the black IPA and the Scottish 70 shilling are contenders. Either way, Victory said, Wise Man Brewing will supply “a wide variety of beer styles.”
The Gate City Motors site, next to the Greensboro Children’s Museum, is several blocks away from the forthcoming home of Preyer Brewing. If Wise Man opens there, it will be the fourth brewery in downtown Greensboro. All except for Natty Greene’s would be in buildings owned by Zimmerman, while the outlying Pig Pounder isn’t too far down the road.
In other words, beer hounds, watch the man’s next purchase closely, and stay tuned for more details about Wise Man Brewing as they emerge.
Find Wise Man Brewing on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.