When Brian Beauchemin signed a lease last December for the building on Southside Drive that would become GoodRoad CiderWorks, he thought the city’s newest cidery would be open by July of this year, August at the latest.
Well, things took a little longer than expected. But work finally started on the space in LoSo (Lower South End) earlier this month and Beauchemin hopes GoodRoad will be open to the public by late October or early November.
“We’re looking forward to it,” Beauchemin said. “We’d love to have opened up yesterday, but stuff happens.”
GoodRoad will be Charlotte’s second cidery, following Red Clay Ciderworks, which opened in July 2015. But Beauchemin, who grew up in Vermont, said people can expect drier ciders than you usually find at Red Clay.
The majority of the ciders will be made with North Carolina apples, but GoodRoad will also use juice from a New Hampshire orchard that grows “cider apples” (also called “spitters” because they’re too tart and bitter for most people to eat fresh).
With the help of Kevin Martin and Rob Adams, GoodRoad will also offer a wide selection of mead.
“With Kevin, on a homebrew level, arguably he’s probably one of the best if not the best mead makers in the Southeast,” Beauchemin said. “I think they’ll be well-received. The people that we have talked to about the fact that we’re bringing mead are excited.”
Beauchemin, who has been making cider for about seven years, said he hopes to open with three base ciders (dry, semi-dry and English cider — dry but a little fruity), a few other cider varieties (like hopped or fruited) and three to six meads. He also plans to serve some beer from area brewers.
“I love ciders and meads because you can experiment just as much as you can with beer,” he said.
Beauchemin really wanted GoodRoad to be in or near South End. It took about two years to find a location. A couple of buildings fell through before he found the one on Southside Drive.
This little LoSo area is becoming an alcohol hotspot with a distillery (Great Wagon Road) and two breweries (The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery and Sugar Creek Brewing) on the same street and another distillery (Doc Porter’s) just a street over.
“We’re obviously bringing a different drink to the street,” Beauchemin said.
Work has just started in the space, which will be about 8,000 square feet when finished, so there’s not a lot to see now. Big windows will provide a lot of natural light in the taproom, which will also have a patio facing the street.
Above the taproom, there will be a small mezzanine with extra seating.
There will also be a 1,300-1,400 square-foot event space behind the taproom separated by a barn door, which can be opened if there’s not an event. That event space will have its own patio off the side of the building.
Nine fermentation tanks, ranging from 530 gallons to 2,000 gallons, will line one wall of the building. One wall of the taproom and event space will be half glass so you can see the tanks.
As for the name, GoodRoad — like any good name it comes with a good story. It’s the English translation of Beauchemin’s French last name. He tells the story of his ancestors who lived in Quebec. Two families had the last name Millette. One lived on a good, smooth road, the other on a bad, hard-to-travel road. To ease confusion, his family eventually took the Good Road — Beauchemin — name. (According to Google Translate the name means “Beautiful Path,” or “Beautiful Way,” but you get the idea.)
“My brother and I years ago were sitting around talking and said whoever started a brewery, whoever did it first got the GoodRoad name,” Beauchemin said. “It’s a cool little family aspect to it.”
GoodRoad CiderWorks: 117 Southside Drive, Charlotte. Facebook.
Photos: Corey Inscoe