Cary, NC – Fortnight Brewery finished brewing their first batch on January 27th, 2014. But it has taken months of inspections, delays and the intervention of an elected official to get all the necessary certifications.
After brewing that first batch, the crew at Fortnight celebrated with a soft opening and invited followers to sample at the pub while they worked out their recipes. By the time they had their Cary Chamber of Commerce official ribbon-cutting in mid-February, they were well on their way to becoming a Cary staple on SW Maynard Street on the edge of our Downtown.
Not By Thanksgiving
In our original story written in October 2013, president Stuart Arnold was hoping to open Fortnight Brewery before Thanksgiving, but a series of unforeseen delays cropped up which pushed back getting their certificate of occupancy (CO).
Arnold explained that when they were in the planning phase with the Town planners, council and the architects, the approval process was smooth. But when it was time for the Town’s inspectors to come on-site, that’s when the snafus started.
“Not to Code”
When inspectors would arrive, they began to find items that “weren’t to code” yet had been approved in the original plans.
Some of the smaller items included: the bar area’s lighting, the addition of a commercial sink, wipe-able ceiling tiles, and shatterproof lighting in the bar.
Two of the most costly changes involved piping for the waste water and a fire escape that needed to be installed.
Arnold wishes that the inspectors could have been there from the beginning of the planning. “They wait til you build it, and then it costs you several thousands of dollars to fix,” said Arnold.
Speaking with Vice President David Wilkinson, the logistics person of the company, he explained some of the kinks that delayed their opening.
One of the biggest involved connection to the existing town sewer pipe. At first, town staff had trouble locating where the existing pipe was, and when they did it was discovered to be 4″ wide as opposed to the brewery’s planned 6″ pipe. The town ordinances don’t allow sewers to drain from bigger to smaller pipes, so a solution had to be worked out. Finally a pump system was devised, but meanwhile 3 months had been lost.
Additional Fire Escape
A second major unforeseen change was the need for an additional fire escape, that was then positioned on an existing firewall. A special fire rated door was needed, and a concrete pad for handicapped access.
This created another problem with an increase of impervious surface, which needed to be remedied by taking away that same amount of concrete somewhere else on the site. The fire escape issue alone was a $12,000 unplanned expense.
After Arnold began to feel the re-inspections were excessive, he approached Lori Bush, one of Cary’s At-Large town council representatives. Lori sat patiently listening to their complaints. She told them they shouldn’t be having this much trouble.
Within 48 hours, four or five people from the Town staff came out to the site to see what was going on and helped to speed up the process for Fortnight. Suddenly change-orders were getting responses in hours where they had previously taken 2 weeks.
Both Stuart Arnold and Dave Wilkinson were quick to point out the staff at the town were very helpful, and all were eager for the brewery to open. However they wished that the inspectors were more in tune with the planners. The costs and time delays could have been avoided from the beginning had some of these changes been caught before the building was under construction. “Why aren’t the inspectors in the meetings with the architects? ” Arnold asked.
Licensing Also Delayed
Before a business that sells alcohol can open, they must first receive their CO (certificate of occupancy) after which they can apply for their ABC permit. The ABC licensing had its own hold up.
When they sent in their application for approval, it was caught up in the government shut-down. After receiving that permit, Fortnight Brewery had to get a Department of Health certificate.
All the previous hold-ups had delayed these final steps from happening.
Where to Find Fortnight Beer
Now that they are indeed up and running, they are selling beer by the glass and growler at the bar inside their brewery location (1006 SW Maynard Rd). And they are working diligently on distribution, first to the immediate area, with plans to expand sales throughout the Triangle and to Charlotte.
They are selling three main beers year round: The Porter, the English Ale, and the Blonde Ale, with plans to expand and serve their ESB (extra special bitter) and launch an IPA. Mondays will be days they offer seasonal or small batch releases and taste test new ideas.
Here’s a brief list of where to find Fortnight on tap in the area:
- Mellow Mushroom
- Amante Pizza on Green Level
- Craft Public House on Tryon Rd
- Chef’s Palette
- Cafe Caturra
- Corner Tavern
- Bad Daddy’s in Morrisville
- Salem Street Pub in Apex
- Triangle Wine
- Whole Food Cary
For the full list click here.
Fortnight Brewery – Now Open in Cary
For now, they aren’t serving food at the pub (more licensing!) but patrons are welcome to bring food in, and on many weekdays Fortnight hosts food trucks during lunch and after 6:00.
The newest addition at Fortnight Brewery is Brunch on Sundays, 12-6:00pm, with a truck specializing in breakfast eats.
Stop in and sample a glass of real English-style ale, brewed right here in Cary.
1006 SW Maynard Rd
Story and photo by Lindsey Chester.