Goose Creek Brewery Hopes to Boost Economic Development After Delays | Business
GOOSE CREEK – There have been days in the past 18 months that Eric Roberts has wondered if the Wide Awake Brewing Co. will ever open its doors.
A global pandemic, supply chain issues and labor shortages all combined to delay the opening of Goose Creek’s first brewery.
When the first tap was pulled and the beer began to flow as the brewery smoothly opened on December 6 at the town’s former fire station, the sense of relief was palpable for Roberts and his staff. .
âThere was such a range of emotions when we finally opened,â said Roberts, a 25-year-old resident of Goose Creek. âThere was a lot of stress before it, a lot of anxiety and then a huge feeling of relief. It has been a long road, but in the end it has been very rewarding. “
Roberts had been eyeing the property on Button Hall Road for almost four years when the city announced in late 2017 that it planned to sell the old fire station. Instead, Roberts opened Swamp Fox Brewing Co. in Summerville in 2019.
âThings just didn’t work out for a number of reasons at the time,â said Roberts. âBut it was such a great place that I kept an eye on it. I could see the potential.
The 1970s fire station had fallen into disrepair over the years. The city wanted to sell the building but had a specific tenant in mind.
“Our preference was to start a restaurant business,” said Goose Creek Mayor Greg Habib. “It was very important to us.”
Goose Creek sold the building to developer Cityvolve in 2020 for $ 275,000, although the city reimbursed $ 75,000 of that amount to help cover renovation costs.
The Cityvolve group had an established reputation for developing areas into financial dynamos. Cityvolve had built several of North Charleston’s Park Circle businesses – Basil Thai, Stems & Skins, Commonhouse Brewery, and the multi-use, multi-tenant Marquis Station – into success stories.
âIt was clear we were having food and drink leaks and a lot of money was leaving town,â said Matt Brady, Goose Creek economic development manager. âThere were too many people leaving town to do food, drink and retail. With the opening of Wide Awake Brewing, we believe we’ll get some of that money back in our community.
The hope is that the new brewery will be a catalyst for further business developments in the region. There is already a commercial real estate project underway just down the road from the old fire station.
âI believe this is a transformative moment for the city,â Habib said. âI think the brewery will help attract more people to the restaurant scene in Goose Creek. Hopefully this will also attract more restaurants to the city. “
Habib also believes it will help the city’s results.
âOur economy has grown exponentially over the past year,â he said. âRight now, we are forecasting over $ 1.5 million in new money next year depending on how our economy grows. This is based on new businesses and new residents, and we think we’re pretty careful with our estimates. “
While some developers may have demolished the old fire station, Cityvolve specializes in revitalizing existing buildings that have exceeded their original target.
âThe building has a lot of history for the town of Goose Creek,â said Roberts. âThe interior space was perfect for a brewery. Plumbing and gas were already in place. It needed a little work, but I never thought we should tear it down. “
To keep costs down, Roberts and his team did most of the renovations themselves.
âWe did the drywall, we cut the floors and did a lot of the framing,â Roberts said.
Still, renovations have hit the low six figures, he said.
âWe probably spent 25% more than we normally would because of all the supply chain issues and material costs,â Roberts said.
The opening was delayed by nearly two months after electrical panels arriving from Mexico were damaged in transit.
âThere have been some frustrating days,â said Roberts.
The adjoining Creek City Grill – a sit-down restaurant – will open in a few months, Roberts said. The brewery occupies 3,600 square feet, while the restaurant will be developed over 2,400 square feet. Roberts co-owns the businesses with Charlene Walker and Vanessa Smith.
âSometimes it’s a little hard to quantify ‘cool’, but you know it when you see it and that area is going to be cool,â Brady said. âAll we’re trying to do is create economic development. We want to create a sense of belonging that gives people something fun and cool to do. And we’re just getting started.
Roberts, who was stationed at naval weapons stations in the early 1990s, will lease the property to Cityvolve.
Wide Awake offers over two dozen beers on tap, including some of the brewery’s favorites like Francis Marion Lager, Dunkelweizen, Banana Bomb Belgium Blond Ale, Chocolate Cherry Porter and Chocolate Coffee Stout.
To reach Andrew Miller at 843-937-5599. Follow him on Twitter @APMILLER_PandC