Matt and Jennifer Addis of Habitat Brewing announced Thursday afternoon that the three-year-old craft brewery on Broadway Street will be closing in a few weeks.
Matt Addis told me in a recent interview that there were a variety of factors at work, but adds that he’s proud of the community connections the brewery developed since opening in 2016. When Addis and his business partner Jonathan Myers first opened, they outlined a vision of making good beer while creating an affordable community gathering spot geared toward locals.
“I still think we have opportunities for that vision to continue,” says Addis.
Addis, an experienced home-brewer, grew up in Concord, N.C., and lived in Portland, Oregon, for five years before moving back to Asheville. Myers grew up in Ohio but had been living in Portland when he met Addis. Myers left Asheville more than a year ago to pursue his religious calling in the Episcopal Church.
The pair worked hard to turn an old hardware store location at 174 Broadway St. into a warm craft brewery. They reached out to the Montford and Five Points neighborhoods for support, and invited a variety of community groups, from square dancers to improv troops, to use their space.
“In hindsight, if we had leaned even more into the community space and events, that could have been a tighter business model,” Addis says. “Doing the brewery and pub and event space, we were spread a little too thin.”
And in spite of the great response from the local neighborhoods, it was still tough to pull people down Broadway, Addis says. The corridor will change quickly over the next couple of years, with two significant residential building projects on tap. But for Habitat Brewing, “we were probably a few years too early,” Addis notes.
“The other piece of it is that Asheville is a different town than just two years ago,” Addis says. Various parts of the city are growing up, each with its own identity, while the tourism industry has continued to pull in more visitors.
All of those factors “present a unique problem when you’re trying to focus on serving locals,” he adds.
Addis says he and Jennifer are at peace with their decision. They’re planning a farewell party and looking for a business that might move into the Habitat space. Addis says he’s also ready for some rest.
“I’m looking forward to more time with my family,” he says, “and I’m excited about what’s on the other side.”
Here’s the full statement from the Habitat Brewing page on Facebook:
HABITAT NEWS, y’all. Good morning! We have been busy these past couple of months making decisions and having conversations with many of you. After a LOT of thought and scheming and serious conversations, we have to share with you that Habitat will be closing its doors in a few weeks. We have loved being in this space and connecting with so many incredible people who are doing fantastic things in this community we love, and for that we will always be grateful for the time that Habitat’s doors were open!
Keep your eyes open for Habitat’s farewell party – we want to see ALL OF YOU again! Also keep your eyes open for us – we might actually have time to get out and see people again for a while! 😀 We love you all, and while we are sad to see this particular embodiment of our vision come to an end, believe us when we say it won’t be the last one. Cheers, Asheville!
Sad to see this one go!! They’ve been a wonderful asset to the 5Points community. They’ve always opened their doors to meetings and gatherings…. I’m grateful for the time they were here. I wish them well.
I’m not a beer drinker, but have thoroughly enjoyed Habitat as a public performance space to watch Asheville Improv Collective and “Spoiler Alert” comedy film screenings. Parking is very convenient, being far enough away from downtown to avoid tourist overflow. I hope whoever claims this space will continue to host local improv and other events.
If they had spent even a tiny bit of money on comfortable seating, better lighting, and even a smidge of atmosphere — they would have had a better reception and been able to “pull people down Broadway”. Instead it’s uneven and uncomfortable chairs and tables, bare lightbulbs, bare walls, no music. My neighbors and I went several times to try and support them but it was not a comfortable or fun place to hang out.
Don’t blame the location, locals have no problem walking down Broadway to hang out downtown or go to Little Jumbo (a place that actually put some thought into being a space people would want to spend an evening in).
Wish them well and here’s hoping we get a place worthy of being a neighborhood hang out.