Over the past 10 years, craft brewing has skyrocketed throughout North Carolina, but one region in particular has grown faster than the rest. Lake Norman (primarily Huntersville and Cornelius) is now feeding local and national demand for unique and award winning pale ales, porters, and stouts.
Drive by almost any area of the town on the weekend and you’ll undoubtedly run into beer tastings, food truck rallies, live music, and pub crawls. Lake Norman’s numerous new taprooms are not only he the economy, they’re also helping to build community.
Bayne Brewing Co., off West Catawba Avenue opened in December 2014, one of a slew of new beer businesses taking advantage of a 2013 zoning change that made it easier to open breweries and brewpubs in Cornelius. Town rules formerly classified breweries as industrial and prohibited microbreweries and taprooms from locating too close to schools or neighborhoods.
Cornelius Mayor Chuck Travis, town manager Anthony Roberts, and planning director Wayne Herron, were ahead of the microbrewery trend, seeing the future demand and encouraging local officials to change the ordinance.
Cornelius is also home to Ass Clown Brewing Co. (opened in 2011), D9 Brewing Co. (opened in 2014), Primal Brewery (opened in 2015), and Lake Norman Brewing Co., which opened several years ago on Barley Park Lane.
Beer lovers have also been flocking to the lake’s many bottle shops, which serve draft beer in their tasting rooms, in addition to selling craft brews for takeout. They’re one of the hottest new business types in Lake Norman, with recent openings including Ultimate Ales in Mooresville, Davidson Beverage Co. in Davidson, Old Town Public House, Cornelius Daft House, Bottled & Tapped in Cornelius, and The Crafty Beer Guys in Huntersville.