If you were considering opening a brewery in downtown Matthews, you might poke your head into Carolina Beer Temple to ask founder Rob Jacik about potential spots. And he might point you to a building just around the corner at 213 N. Trade St.
It’s happened several times in the past, but no would-be brewers took Jacik’s advice. Then one of his friends asked what he would do with the space.
“I said it would make a great restaurant, it would make a great bar. You could probably put a brewery in there,” said Jacik. “And he said, ‘That’s what I want to do. I want to put a brewery in it.’”
Now Jacik and his silent business partner will open the town’s first brewery. The brewery is but one portion of the new business, which will open as Seaboard Taproom and Wine Bar around mid-August. Once the bar itself is open, they’ll turn their attention to “phase two,” which will consist of bringing in a 5-barrel brewery.
Seaboard is located right around the corner from Carolina Beer Temple, and just across the railroad tracks from Temple Mojo, the other new venture Jacik has undertaken in Matthews (oh, and he’s also bringing another Carolina Beer Temple to Ayrsley). Russ Conrad will serve as general manager over all of these, but will be based out of Seaboard. Kyle Byram, who was previously at Vintner Wine Market, will oversee Seaboard’s wine program.
The building was built in 1964 as the office of architect Frank Williams. There are actually three buildings on the property. At 3,000-square-feet, the main building will house the bar. On one side of that bar will be 24 taps; on the other will be about 1,200 bottles of wine.
There’s a small courtyard behind the main building, and just past this is the 1,100-square-foot building that will house the brewery. There’s another very small building they may later turn into a walk-up kitchen.
Like Temple Mojo, Seaboard Taproom and Wine Bar will give Jacik the chance to do some things that he can’t at Carolina Beer Temple. There, his focus is on beers from Belgium and across the Carolinas. Seaboard will focus largely on classic examples of styles from Germany, England, Ireland and other countries. Jacik wants Seaboard to serve an educational role on both the beer and the wine side.
As for their own beers, Jacik said nothing is off limits but that they will focus on styles from the United Kingdom (think traditional porter, dry Irish stout, extra special bitter, etc.). Expect some of these beers to be named after the railroad beside the building (like the name Seaboard itself). Between the tracks and Seaboard are 90 public parking spots, and the Town of Matthews is working with Jacik to build a new stairway that would lead up from that parking lot toward the back of the bar.
Temple Mojo and Seaboard will not only provide a different experience than Carolina Beer Temple, but they will be able to accommodate overflow from the popular Matthews bar.
“Success is a good thing, but sometimes it’s painful to watch people just walk on by or open the door and leave because we’re so crowded,” said Jacik. “We want to provide other options down here.”
And even though he’ll now head up three beer spots in Matthews, Jacik wants his establishments to be only part of those options. As vice president of the Matthews Chamber of Commerce, he wants Matthews to be seen as a destination in the same way some people think of NoDa, South End or Uptown.
“I want people to think, ‘Hey, where do we want to go today?,’” said Jacik. “Matthews. Not the Beer Temple, not somewhere else. Matthews.”
Seaboard Taproom and Wine Bar should open around mid-to-late August, Temple Mojo around Labor Day, and Carolina Beer Temple in Ayrsley should be around late September or October.
Photos: Daniel Hartis