Burlington beer co-op reaches major milestone

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BURLINGTON, N.C. -- New beginnings are constantly sparking behind the brick buildings lining Front Street in downtown Burlington. Soon a 6,000-square-foot space in the heart of downtown will begin to transform from the inside out.

"It's another domino falling," Burlington Director of Economic Development Peter Bishop said. "It's just gonna add to that crescendo of investment and activity that we've been seeing."

Eric Henry, one of the members of the Burlington Beer Works board, stands inside the dusty brick building and has a clear vision for what it will become: one of only a handful of cooperatively owned breweries in the country.

"Back behind me here will be the brewery," he said, on the ground floor. "Upstairs will be the restaurant."

And on the top, a rooftop patio and bar with a view down Main and Front streets. The group behind the co-op secured $1,000,000 in private money to begin construction in the coming weeks. Some of the floors need work, but they hope to keep as much character as possible.

"We certainly want to celebrate as much of the existing structure and materials as possible," board member Jeff Wilkins said. "I feel like we've struck a nice balance in being able to preserve what we can for this project."

More than 1,700 have bought a share and are owners, but the group is still looking for more.

"We need owners, we need preferred stock, we've got enough to get this thing going, but we still have to seek out some additional funds and get us across the finish line," Henry said.

A share costs $100, and if you wish to invest more beyond that, you can buy preferred stock. The project is slated to open in the fall of 2018. You can learn more about investing here.

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