G2B planning nanobrewery
If the owner of a South Durham gastropub has his way, Durham will have a fifth brewery in operation by September.
The restaurant and bar G2B is closed temporarily for renovations through July 15 to allow for construction of a nanobrewery and for minor repairs, said Andrew Christenbury, the business’s general manager, bar manager and future brewer.
“It’s a baby brewery, is the best way to describe it,” Christenbury said of the proposed new brewery. “(The owner thought it was) a cool idea, it would spur a little more extra business, and get more people to know about us,” he added.
The gastropub’s owner and operators are looking to capitalize on the interest in craft beer in Durham. Durham now has four breweries, and across the state, there were 91 as of last year, according to the Brewers Association. The state ranked No. 9 for its total number of breweries, and 22nd for its rate of breweries per 100,000 people of drinking age.
The interest in craft brewing isn’t isolated to North Carolina. According to the association, production by smaller, independent breweries producing 6 million barrels per year grew by 18 percent. There were 2,822 craft breweries at the end of the year.
A home brewer who is taking charge of the restaurant’s brewing operation, Christenbury said the plan at G2B is to work with the chef to make seasonal, craft beer that pairs nicely with food.
“We’ll do a lot of creative things to go with the season,” he said. “We won’t be making stouts in the middle of the summer; we’ll probably do lighter beers in the summer – kölschs and hefeweizens.”
Even without a brewery, Christenbury said the restaurant already has an emphasis on craft beer. Eight of their 14 beer taps are dedicated to craft beer made in the state.
“We stay away from Budweiser and Bud Light and all of that, and stick to local, smaller breweries,” he said.
The original concept for G2B, which stands for “Gastropub-To-Beer,” was that it would be an American beer house and gastro pub serving artisanal foods such as homemade sausages, burgers, pizzas and pastas.
“We changed it from [the] original format,” said Christenbury, who said he started less than three years ago at the restaurant. “Before it was more of a beer garden. We turned it into a more traditional gastropub theme.”
The restaurant opened in the spring of 2011, owned by the same anonymous investor behind [ONE] Restaurant, a fine dining restaurant in Meadowmont. The plan was to launch a series of restaurant concepts under the vision of chef Shane Ingram, the co-owner of the fine dining restaurant Four Square Restaurant in Durham. Ingram later left [ONE] and G2B to focus on Four Square.
The restaurant’s goal now is to serve simple food “done elegantly,” Christenbury said.
The restaurant is in the former South Square Mall area off Shannon Road in the South Court building. The building is under new management after it was sold in foreclosure in May. Christenbury said that delayed some of their plans for the brewery. But he said the new management has been supportive.