Natty Greene’s Brewing Co., a craft brewery located in downtown Greensboro, has unveiled plans for a $2.5 million expansion of its facilities. The owners, Chris and Ashleah Lester, showcased their proposed brewhouse pavilion, a single-story structure that will include interior brewhouse space, open-air seating, and bar areas. The expansion will be situated just south of the existing Natty Greene’s brewhouse on Elm Street and will cover one-third of an acre. The project is expected to result in an increase in staff to 75 employees.
The decision to expand came from a desire to bring the brewing production back in-house, making the business more self-sustaining. Currently, Natty Greene’s sells 600 barrels of beer a year at its restaurant, but only 300 barrels are produced on the property. The expansion aims to increase production capacity and meet the growing demand for their craft beers.
The owners have been working on the expansion plans for over a year and a half, which included acquiring the necessary land from Norfolk Southern. Natty Greene’s has been a successful brewery since it opened in Greensboro in 2004. It quickly expanded into a production brewing enterprise, distributing its beers from Washington D.C. to Georgia.
In 2015, Natty Greene’s even won a trademark battle against Anheuser-Busch over the name Natty Greene. Despite these achievements, the company faced challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2019, they closed their facility on Gate City Boulevard and relocated production to a smaller space in the basement of their downtown restaurant.
With construction set to begin in two weeks, the owners hope to complete the expansion before Natty Greene’s 20-year anniversary. The project’s timing aligns with the anticipated growth and increased foot traffic in downtown Greensboro. Natty Greene’s has been a popular destination, attracting over 180,000 customer visits in the last 12 months from various states, including Maryland, Washington, Virginia, New Jersey, and Connecticut.
The expansion of Natty Greene’s has been viewed as a positive development by the community and city officials. Zack Matheny, CEO of Downtown Greensboro Inc., mentioned that Natty Greene’s serves as an example for other businesses interested in investing in downtown Greensboro. The expansion not only reflects the confidence in the local market but also contributes to the cooperative nature of the hospitality community in Greensboro.
Mayor Nancy Vaughan commended Natty Greene’s for their commitment to the city and thanked them for their investment. The expansion project signifies the continued growth and success of Natty Greene’s Brewing Co. in Greensboro’s vibrant craft beer industry.