Historic Buggy Building, Carthage

From Triangle Business Journal:  One of the largest craft brewers in North Carolina has its sights set on expansion, with two new locations close to home.

Southern Pines Brewing Company has two expansion projects in the works – one in Fayetteville and one in Carthage, located north of Southern Pines in Moore County. The brewery has gained a following in the Sandhills and beyond through its two taprooms and its widespread distribution. The company is moving into Fayetteville with a major project underway, as well as establishing the first brewery in the Carthage community.

The new Fayetteville spot is located at 123 Hay St. downtown. Owner Micah Niebauer purchased the historic building in December for $440,000, according to Cumberland County property records. The building dates to the early 1900s, and the team is currently working on demolition inside the structure to prepare it for remodeling, Niebauer said. Work is being done to fix problems like roof leaks and installing an elevator.

When finished, the 13,000-square-foot taproom will feature a taproom on the first floor, a second floor with a bar and music venue and a rooftop area with firepits and artificial turf. The project will also be the company’s first to offer a food menu – a taco and street food theme. Niebauer is planning to open the spot – named Southern Pines Brewing on Hay Street – between July and September of next year.

The Carthage location will mark the fourth for the brewery. Niebauer is currently securing financing for the project and is working through inspection and due diligence processes before purchasing the property. The planned location is another old building in a downtown setting – this time though, the property is a historical landmark.

Niebauer is eyeing the Tyson and Jones Buggy Factory building for the new brewery. The property played an important role in the history of the small Moore County town, housing a carriage manufacturing company that was one of the largest in the South in the late 1800s. The Town of Carthage purchased the building for $46,000 in 2015, but little has been done to the space since then.

Niebauer is hoping to close on the property by the end of the year. Plans for the space include brewing space in the basement, a bar and tap room on the ground floor and an open kitchen serving pizza. The space measures about 3,600 square feet on the top floor and about 1,600 square feet of usable space in the basement, he said.

Niebauer told Moore County’s local newspaper, The Pilot, that the space will feature:

* hearty pizzas fired in an open kitchen’s pizza ovens;

* lunch, dinner and delivery service, including “quick delicious options for the courthouse crowd”;

* a large basement brewery focused on using local grains, unique fermentation blends and one-of-a-kind brews to replicate and replace the need for imports;

* multiple bars on two floors; and

* historical touches, decor and original details throughout the building, including “hopefully, leasing one of the original buggies and hanging it from the ceiling.

 

Like the Fayetteville building, the Carthage space will require significant upfitting to turn the space into a brewery. In some areas of the building, the floors cannot be stepped on without them falling through, Niebauer said. The new brewery will be called The Buggy Factory by Southern Pines Brewing Co. as a nod to the property’s history.

“Carthage is a tiny little town, but it’s the county seat and an important spot from a highway standpoint,” Niebauer said. “With all of the development happening on the 421 corridor from Sanford to Siler City, there’s so much large development coming to North Carolina. And It’s just going to keep growing.”

Niebauer finances his projects by securing loans through banks. Niebauer is currently projecting the Fayetteville project to cost between $2.5 million to $3 million, though material prices and inflation could alter that estimate in coming months.

“Taprooms have been a strategically profitable way to grow our brand,” he said. “It’s not only a great way to get to sell our product by the glass to customers, but it also really builds our wholesale footprint in the market because a lot more people get exposed to our brand, so it works across multiple fronts for our business.”

This year is shaping up to be the company’s best yet from a revenue standpoint, Niebauer said. But an increase in expenses has hurt margins. Niebauer declined to disclose specific revenue figures but said the company sold just over 6,000 barrels in 2021. This year, Southern Pines Brewing is pacing to reach that same level, if not surpass it.

Southern Pines Brewing is one of the largest craft breweries in the state based on number of beer barrels produced in 2021.

Founded by three Army Veterans in 2014, the company opened its first taproom and production facility at 565 Air Tool Drive in Southern Pines. Niebauer took sole ownership of the company in 2019 and opened the second taproom location at 205 W. Pennsylvania Ave.

(Article by Laura Brummett, Triangle Business Journal)