Ligon CRE rep's Legion Brewing into Plaza-Midwood

Article from Charlotte Biz Journal

Legion Brewing kicks off construction of Plaza-Midwood home (PHOTOS)

May 13, 2015, 1:54pm EDT

Jennifer Thomas

Legion Brewing is wasting no time in transforming its Plaza-Midwood home.

Construction at 1906 Commonwealth Ave. ramped up last week — on the same day final permits for the project were issued, says Phil Buchy, who has teamed up with Newton Craver on the venture.

Within 24 hours, the taproom and restrooms had been framed out. On the first level, preparations for a 15-barrel brewhouse were ongoing, first ripping out the existing concrete slab. A new floor was poured earlier this week.

Legion hopes to open its doors by early fall, Buchy says. “What we’re planning, our inspiration, is to be an all-American brewery,” he says.

All of the brewhouse’s equipment is American-made and was purchased north of Greensboro.

Buchy has been working on plans for the brewery since 2007. He notes he was looking for investors when the economy crashed.

Then he and Craver met through church and decided to take on the project together.

The duo has a clear-cut vision for the 11,000-square-foot space, down to the vibe it has. Legion’s tagline is "friends and beer."

“We want to create a culture that’s more of a legion of friends,” Craver says. “There’s nothing better than friends and beer.”

The brewery’s location was formerly occupied by the Brodt Music Co.

Legion will pay homage to the building’s history by incorporating bookshelves, wood and signs from Brodt Music.

“What we want is somebody to come in here and feel like it’s always been here,” Craver says. “Incorporating what was here before is part of that.”

During a recent visit to the space, a line drawn in the dirt on the floor depicted where the bar will sit. Plans call for the bar to have a sort of butcher-block look, made from a couple of thousand squares of end-grain wood, Buchy says.

“Obviously, your eyes are going to be drawn to the bar,” he adds.

The area around the bar will be standing-room-only, with drink rails providing an option for patrons. Or they can take advantage of table seating in the 2,700-square-foot taproom.

A section of the taproom will be dedicated to live music and feature murals and musical decor, including musical instruments used as light fixtures.

The venture will have a small kitchen and will eventually offer snacks such as charcuterie and cheese.

“We don’t want to compete with the neighborhood — we want to complement the neighborhood,” Buchy says.

French doors will be added, providing a view of the city skyline.

An existing brick wall will be removed, and a mezzanine overlooking the 5,000-square-foot brewhouse will enable guests to peek into Legion’s operations.

The brewhouse will have capacity to produce 3,500 barrels per year, with room to expand.

Downstairs, a natural cellar provides the perfect space to barrel-age brews. Legion will produce American farmhouse-style beer, including lagers and ales.

It plans to pull inspiration from local products when possible. That may mean incorporating peaches or honeysuckle into beer recipes.

A second phase of the project will add a private room and beer garden.

Davis Hahn of Ligon Commercial Real Estate represented the brewery.

Jay Levell of White Point Partners is the landlord.