Coming soon: Huge German brewer aims for mid-December opening in lower South End

Coming soon: Huge German brewer aims for mid-December opening in lower South End

Photo: Symphony Webber/Axios

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The big German brewery Gilde (pronounced gill-duh) has been around for 475 years, and when you look at it like that, a delay of a few months on the opening of its new Charlotte facility doesn’t seem so long.

What’s happening: After a pre-Oktoberfest opening was scrapped because of supply-chain issues, the brewery’s owner now says they’re aiming for a mid-December debut in lower South End.

  • The 9,000-square-foot facility at 3530 Dewitt Lane will be the first location outside of Germany.
  • Gilde plans to brew its six staple German beers, brewery management said in an early statement. They also plan to “experiment with American craft beer styles” like IPAs.

Why it matters: The fact that one of Germany’s oldest brewers wants to expand into Charlotte is a nod of confidence in the local beer industry, which has been growing at a breakneck pace ever since the city’s first brewery, Olde Mecklenburg, opened in 2009.

Gilde president Mike Gaertner points to Charlotte’s growth, plus its appetite for beer, as the big reasons the brewery is here.

  • “What we see here is a very beer addicted (population) and … breweries that open again and again, which is a mark that the people here like beer. So they will have a lot of fun together at our brewery,” Gaertner says.

Rendering courtesy of Gensler.

“This is the place to be if you want a traditional German beer brewed by a German brewmaster,” he adds.

Zoom out: Hannover, Germany-based Gilde has been around since 1546. In 2019, Karsten Uhlmann, the brewery’s CEO, shared with me how the company plans to grow into Charlotte in phases. For the last few years, Gilde has been selling its traditional beers (like pilsners and hefeweizens) at local grocery stores.

  • Ultimately, this Lower South End location will serve as the North American headquarters and be capable of producing 500,000 barrels per year — or roughly 25 times the capacity of Olde Meck, which is currently Charlotte’s biggest brewery.

Details: The Embassy will have an interior bier haus and outdoor biergarten, all with a capacity for 350 customers. Willi Wallstab, a renowned German brewing master, is moving to Charlotte to lead the brewing at Gilde of its six staples, all brewed on-site according to German Purity Law: Pilsener, Kellerbier, Urbock, Red Rooster, Lemon Radler, and Pale Wheat.

  • Gilde will have a rotating set of craft beers, too.
  • Two Michelin Star chef Stefan Hermann will lead Gilde’s culinary program. Expect traditional German food such as sausages, pretzels and spätzle (a German pasta).

“As the original craft beer innovators, we will immerse guests in centuries of German brewing heritage combined with the creativity of the American beer movement,” Uhlmann said in a statement.

Flashback: Earlier this year, Gilde bought the LoSo property, which is a quick walk to the Scaleybark light-rail stop, from Charlotte developer Beacon Partners for $3.1 million, according to the Mecklenburg County Register of Deeds. The building was previously home to the furniture store Reinvented Charlotte, which closed in 2018, the Observer reported at the time.

  • The building is also close to The Station at LoSo a planned mixed-use development that’ll have offices, restaurant and retail space, a hotel and apartments.

Here’s a look around:

Gilde brewery LoSo

Gilde main entrance. Photo: Symphony Webber/Axios

Gilde brewery LoSo, interior

This is where the main bar and taps will be located. Photo: Symphony Webber/Axios

Gilde brewery LoSo

Copper brew kettles custom-made in Germany. It was a very intricate process getting them to Charlotte. Photo: Symphony Webber/Axios

Gilde brewery LoSo

Private room for events/meetings. Photo: Symphony Webber/Axios

Gilde brewery exterior mural

This mural shows Queen Charlotte welcoming the Gilde rooster to her city.

Editor’s note: This story was last updated on Nov. 9 to include updated information on the opening.

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