Breweries are making big news this week in downtown Greenville.
Blue Ridge Brewing Co. is heading back downtown. This time the restaurant will be moving into the 19,000-sqaure-foot former White Horse Paper Co. at 405 Westfield St., right on the Greenville Health System Swamp Rabbit Trail and a block from the future City Park.
The restaurant and brewery plans to open in the fall.
After losing its North Main Street lease in 2015 after 20 years in Greenville, Blue Ridge owner Bob Hiller says they are “chomping at the bit” to reopen downtown.
The new building, which will require almost as much demolition as new construction, is owned by Rallis Holdings, also the owner of the Mohawk Drive development Blue Ridge previously signed a lease for in late 2016. Because of inadequate parking, the restaurant had to pull out of the deal.
Hiller says despite appearances, the current Trade Street location in Greer was already in the works before the Greenville location closed.
“We never left downtown. It just happened to coincide with our losing our lease,” Hiller says. “We always planned to open the second location in Greer.”
Since the Greenville Blue Ridge closed, Hiller has been on the hunt for a new space in Greenville that would allow the restaurant to expand its operations and brew its own beer again. Hiller previously moved the brewing operations to North Carolina and sold his share in that part of the business.
The Greer restaurant is currently setting up a microbrewery next door in a building Hiller owns, and the new Greenville location will also set up a microbrewery onsite, Hiller says.
The size of the Westfield location will allow the restaurant and brewery to expand, Hiller says.
“We want to bring the brewery back to South Carolina,” Hiller says.
And as to all of the recent brewery announcements, Hiller isn’t concerned about competition.
“We’re all working together to build a community, and further the cause, and that is the cause of craft beer,” Hiller says.