Meet some of the brewers who got their start at Rocky Mount Mills
There are a few places in North Carolina where you can walk between breweries, and Rocky Mount Mills is one of them. The reason the brewers are here is a little different though — Rocky Mount Mills is the site of a North Carolina brewery incubator, where good home brewers can launch their beer into a business.
On May 15 at 1 p.m., Tarheel Taps and Corks will introduce you three brewers getting their operations started at the Mills through a live virtual tour on the People-First Tourism Facebook page.
The costs of starting a brewery are high — brewing equipment, canning or bottling lines, cold storage, and that’s before you even think about hosting a taproom. Rocky Mount Mills offers new brewers, and some expansion operations, the chance to rent equipment and other space while they hone their craft.
Here is a little information about some of the brewers you’ll meet during our virtual tour.
In 2016, Koi Pond Brewing opened at the Mills as Rocky Mount’s first brewery. Five years later, the brewery continues to operate in a large house on the property that was once a superintendent’s home for the mill, and Koi Pond has a strong community following. On May 15, Koi Pond will host their popular Pondapalooza event.
Koi Pond specializes in Belgian-style beers. And thanks to relationships with local growers, their brewers have also experimented with adding different types of produce — sweet potatoes, peaches and basil — to add new flavors to their beer, says Koi Pond co-owner and operations manager Josh Parvin.
RMM brewers Briana Brake and Celeste Beatty each have their own operations — Spaceway Brewing and Harlem Brew South — and beer labels. Together, they have opened a collaboration taproom in downtown called Rocky Mount Brewing.
Brake was recently featured in the documentary This Belongs to Us about Black brewers and how they have shaped the U.S. beer industry. African-American brewers, especially women, are rare in the industry, which is dominated by white men. The film, still a work in progress, was previewed at Sundance Film Festival.
Brake says coming to RMM to brew was an easy decision, with the equipment that was available to brewers. She is excited about her downtown taproom and is interested in opening another in the future.
Chazz Oesch (pronounced Ay-sh) is the owner of Mythic Brewing, which has expanded from one taproom at the Mills to two others — one in Cedar Point near Emerald Isle and one in Zebulon.
The brewery’s first name was BDD, which had something to do with a cousin’s graduation from Virginia Tech, slurred speech and a seat belt. But the name took too long to explain, so Oesch changed it to Mythic Brewing, but kept the Sasquatch image for the logo. Other beer names are based on mythical creatures like Big Foot — the Loogaroo Double Milkshake IPA and the Queen Lavender Mohito Sour.
Find out more about these brewers, what appeals to them about brewing at the Mills and which of their beers are their favorites.
Rocky Mount Mills is a true live, work, play environment. In addition to the breweries, the Mills offers office and retail space, restaurants, condominiums and apartments, as well as event space.
There is so much more to explore around Rocky Mount Mills — a three-plus-mile bike trail along the Tar River, hiking trails in nearby Battle Park, and River and Twine, a tiny house hotel within walking distance. Since you can’t do it all in a day, book a night in a tiny house, bring your bike and take your time to explore the Mills and nearby attractions.