Crafted beer company finds home on Washington Street

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Above: Nicole and Brian Cendrowski are owners of Fireforge Crafted Beer.

Fireforge Crafted Beer has found a home after a nearly two-year search, signing a lease and planning a brewery and beer garden on East Washington Street in downtown Greenville at the former site of a tire and automotive business.

Husband-and-wife owners Brian and Nicole Cendrowski took to Facebook to post the news that they have leased much of the former W.N. Watson site across from the federal courthouse near Church Street.

To find an appropriate location, it took 18 months and a search that evaluated more than 60 properties throughout Greenville “and seemingly every surrounding nook and cranny,” the couple said.

They are leasing a 4,600-square-foot warehouse section at the back of the former Watson building, 311 E. Washington St., from Stone Properties. A restaurant potentially will be located in the front, where windows overlook Washington Street, Brian Cendrowski said.

A beer garden is planned in what now is one of two small parking lots on the property, Cendrowski said.

The garden will be located in a common area that Fireforge would share with the restaurant, he said. Plans call for outdoor seating and a music stage. Fireforge hopes to have access to nearby lots for after-hours and weekend parking, Cendrowski said.

For Fireforge, architectural drawings and engineering specifications still are needed and the project must go through the building-permit process, Cendrowski said.

“Realistically, we may not be able to begin construction for two more months,” he said. “And then, from there, we’re probably looking at a two- to three-month build out. We’re hoping we might be able to open the tasting room mid-summer.”

Once a taproom is open, Fireforge will serve guest beers from different breweries, Cendrowski said.

It could take six months or longer to get a needed federal license to open the brewery, but once that is approved, Fireforge will start brewing its own beer to serve customers, he said.

Cendrowski estimates the upfit will cost about $100,000, plus the purchase of equipment and other items to get the business up and running.

He and his wife are managing partners in the venture. Friends and family members are private equity investors, accounting for about one-third of the financing. The remainder will come from a Small Business Administration loan from a Charlotte bank, Cendrowski said.

W.N. Watson moved its business to 333 W. Broad St. in Greenville.

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