We have all known folks who tried to drink themselves into oblivion. It seems that Rocky Mount wants beer to do the opposite and save the town’s economy. Rocky Mount- for those of you who are not from around these parts- is a city less than an hour northeast of the Triangle. For you hamburger lovers, it was the birth place of Hardee’s. The historically textile-oriented town which sits on the Nash-Edgecombe County line (literally: the train tracks and the county line go right through the middle of town) has fallen on economic hard times. Nash has an unemployment rate of 5.9% while Edgecombe has the state’s second worst rate of 7.6%.
Enter Capitol Broadcasting headed by Jim Goodmon and his son Michael. Do they sound familiar? Goodmon headed the American Tobacco project in Durham which was wildly successful. They bought the historic Rocky Mount Mills, a 300,000 square foot facility on over 160 picturesque acres on the banks of the Tar River near downtown Rocky Mount. Much like American Tobacco, Rocky Mount Mills will be a mixed use development with shops, offices and condos. This, however, was not enough to get the project jump started so they came up with the idea of a brewery incubator. I did not know those existed either. The incubator furnishes a brewery space, complete with refrigeration areas, over a half million dollars worth of brewing equipment and a real German-born brewmeister. The have five spaces for start-up companies, all now leased, all of whom can use the facilities and share the knowledge they gain during the process. They have also gained leases from two other breweries that have their own pub space.
Here’s to the Goodmon’s. Cheers!