Asheville’s second oldest brewery got its start with Joe Eckert under the Jack of the Wood banner about 17 years ago. Dennis Thies, aka the “Hop Hustler,” bought the beer-making operation from Eckert about five years ago. With a background in distribution in South Florida, Thies has been steadily investing in the brewery, solidifying a loyal fan base, honing packaging and design, buying adjacent property along Buxton and expanding beer-making capacity.
Just the other day, Green Man was quietly adding fermentation tanks to its state-of-the-art, 30-barrel brewhouse, which sits next door to one the Dirty Jack’s tasting room. Last year, Green Man produced 5,000 barrels. This year, the target is 7,500.
The next step is expanding Green Man’s facility on Buxton.
Construction, set to begin in about two months, will include the addition of a new warehouse for bright tanks and packaging, as well as a three-story structure that will house a retail sales location downstairs and an upstairs tasting room that will allow visitors to tour, look down onto the production facility and offer and outdoor beer garden area where people will be afforded southward views of the surrounding mountains. The building will have a brick exterior and a feel that fits with its well-known (and loved) packaging.
Green Man’s investment on the South Slope is just the latest in an ongoing wave of development there. It follows a recent announcement by Wicked Weed Brewing that it planned to open a sour beer tasting room and storage facility nearby on Coxe Avenue, and just across the street from the newly opened Twin Leaf Brewing. Toss in the established Asheville Pizza & Brewing on Coxe Avenue and the still relatively new Hi-Wire Brewing nearby, and I think there’s now a critical mass for the area to be formally designated the Asheville Brewery District.
Here’s a reminder of other significant development plans on the South Slope:
-Renovation of old Standard Paper Building: The massive vacant building on Banks Avenue is being renovated to house several new business. Vortex Doughnuts is moving in, and word on the street is that a new restaurant is in the works in an adjacent space in the building, which will also be home to the announced Public School bar.
-Downtown Market building renovations: The South French Broad Avenue building that is home to the Downtown Market was just sold and there are plans for its renovation. A discount grocery store inside the building is planning to triple in size, and there are plans to add residential units to the building.
-Chrysler building renovations and nearby plans: A 1.78-acre parcel of property at 185 Coxe Ave. sold recently. Early word on the street is that the new owner plans to build a large apartment building on the site. The empty lot sits across the street from Asheville’s Chrysler building, which is being renovated for a mix of about 25 condos and retail space. Next to the Chrysler building is an empty lot (a big hole in the ground) that is the site of a proposed eight-story building with a parking deck and 40-some apartments. The same ownership group owns all the lots.