This summer, Hi-Wire Brewing plans to open a third Asheville, N.C. location in the city’s River Arts District (RAD) just down the road from the brewery’s Big Top Production Brewery and Taproom as well as its original location and current specialty brewery and taproom on Asheville’s South Slope. The new venue – which will bring Hi-Wire up to a total of seven taprooms – will be unlike any of its others in that the bulk of the facility will be dedicated to a large distribution center while the taproom portion will be an outdoor beer garden constructed from upcycled shipping containers.
The motivation for this Asheville expansion is “in short, growth!” according to Chris Frosaker, Hi-Wire Brewing co-owner. “We’re simply out of storage space at the Big Top,”
Since Hi-Wire’s Big Top Production Brewery opened near Asheville’s Biltmore Village in 2016, the company has added an additional eight states to its distribution roster outside of North Carolina as well as opened three taprooms outside of Asheville with a fourth currently in progress in Louisville, KY. While the Big Top brewery has room to grow in production volume, the warehousing, shipping, and receiving departments are over capacity, so this dedicated distribution facility will create more space for the production team and in turn make shipping more efficient for the company.
The new 25,233-square-foot distribution center is roughly the same size as Hi-Wire’s production brewery at Big Top located about six minutes away. The RAD location was the closest large and available building that the company could find in relation to Hi-Wire Big Top.
“The fact that this perfect building is located in the heart of the River Arts District, which just received a massive infrastructure investment and a new greenway is icing on the cake,” Frosaker says.
Once it is up and running, all shipping and receiving as well as storage of bulk packaging and brewing materials will move from Big Top to the new distribution center. A 5,250-square-foot cooler will be constructed inside the building to accommodate cold storage.
Hi-Wire’s Big Top facility will continue to be the company headquarters and where all major beer production occurs while the South Slope Specialty Brewery will remain the company’s creative hub featuring its pilot system as well as sour and wild ale program.
The Hi-Wire RAD taproom, featuring a twenty-four-tap bar, will only account for around 2500-square-feet of the building itself while an additional 5000-square-foot beer garden composed of nine repurposed metal shipping containers will be situated in front of the facility to the right side. The containers’ walls will be cut out to create open-air seating, but the roofs will remain to provide sun and weather protection. Once constructed, this unique beer garden will seat roughly 350 people, and the open atmosphere will offer ample opportunities for outdoor event programming.
“I definitely envision live music and festivals here,” Frosaker said of the beer garden, and he suggested that Hi-Wire will likely move all large events typically held at the Big Top taproom to the new RAD location once it is open. As is the case with the brewery’s Big Top and South Slope taprooms, the RAD container beer garden will have the same fun, relaxed, and approachable vibe just in a new, eclectic outdoor setting. While the brewery has expanded well beyond Asheville and North Carolina, Hi-Wire’s mission with the addition of this third Asheville location is to continue strengthening its local community.
“We’re thankful to provide more jobs to the city and create a gathering place for locals and visitors alike,” said Javier Bolea, Hi-Wire’s creative director.
With the launch of the newest location creating extra space at Big Top, Hi-Wire intends to update the brewery’s “home” taproom near Biltmore Village as well. Interactive games like soccer pool, colorful new murals, an expanded beer garden, and increased seating will all be added at Big Top following Hi-Wire RAD’s opening.
“This new distribution center is an investment in the future and will allow us to continually and aggressively grow,” Frosaker says. “Hi-Wire is in this for the long haul and will continue to grow sales and plant roots in the communities we work in.”