August 29, 2014

Riverwalk brewpub plans delayed, downtown Rock Hill may get brewery

York County’s first craft beer microbrewery has slightly changed course this month after learning that its planned restaurant and brewpub building likely won’t be ready by the time its brewing equipment arrives.

York County’s first craft beer microbrewery has slightly changed course this month after learning that its planned restaurant and brewpub building likely won’t be ready by the time its brewing equipment arrives.

Legal Remedy Brewing of Fort Mill now wants to open its first location near downtown Rock Hill. The company still plans to open a restaurant and serve its beer in the future at Riverwalk, a residential and recreational community under development near Interstate 77 and Cherry Road.

The start-up brewery first announced its Riverwalk plans to The Herald earlier this month. The business hopes to have two locations: a production brewery on Oakland Avenue and a brewpub and restaurant at Riverwalk.

Before renovations and work can begin on the downtown building, the brewery needs the city of Rock Hill’s permission for business permits and a special exception to zoning rules.

Next month, Rock Hill’s Zoning Board of Appeals will consider Legal Remedy’s request to open a brewery at 129 Oakland Ave., site of the former Williams Chrysler dealership and near the Oakland Avenue bridge over Dave Lyle Boulevard.

The downtown brewery plan depends on gaining city approval, said Bill Neurohr of Legal Remedy. To move ahead, the brewery needs city permission to set up outdoor seating and serve alcohol.

The land is classified as commercial property and the building’s zoning permits most commercial uses. Brewing beer is not currently allowed in Rock Hill’s general commercial districts, however, so Legal Remedy will need a special exception.

Legal Remedy is set to become the county’s first commercial brewery. Craft beer enthusiasts have said the Rock Hill area is ready for a local craft beer spot to join the numerous brewing operations nearby in Charlotte.

In Rock Hill, Legal Remedy plans to use a 17-barrel brewing system capable of producing nearly 530 gallons of beer per batch. The brewery plans to use the locally owned beverage distributor B&B to get its beer into stores, bars and restaurants.

Once open, Neurohr says Legal Remedy will offer tours of its brewery and use a taproom in the Oakland Avenue building for on-site beer sales. The goal is for the brewery to complement Legal Remedy’s restaurant and brewpub at Riverwalk, he said.

With city approval, he said, the building is large enough to accommodate a bottling or canning facility for Legal Remedy’s beer.

“The building really lends itself nicely to being used the way we want to use it,” Neurohr said.

The company has not yet set an open date. Neurohr said the brewing equipment is being shipped from overseas and could arrive within two months.

The city’s Zoning Board of Appeals meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Sept. 16 at City Hall.

Neurohr says he understands that some residents or nearby businesses could have some reservations about the downtown brewery plan, but he sees it as a positive move for development in the area. City and business leaders have been pushing a plan for downtown revitalization for years.

Next door to the potential brewery site, Allison Morris, an administrative assistant at the Echols Law Firm, said she’d be happy to see Legal Remedy set up shop in downtown.

She’s “excited to have it here in Rock Hill on this side of town,” Morris said. A new craft brewery, she said, would likely spur more commercial development in the area.

Legal Remedy can be purchased in Baxter Village in Fort Mill at the Grapevine Wine Bar and the Fish Market Bar and Grill. The brewing company is a sponsor of the TawbaFest event planned for Sept. 20 at Riverwalk.

The business began in 2009 when a group of friends in Fort Mill convened around their passion for brewing craft beer at home. Two years ago, the group took its first creation to Grapevine’s “Beertopia” festival and finished first in the home-brew category with its high-gravity (high alcoholic content) “Privileged Porter.”

Like Legal Remedy, the Grapevine has plans to expand into Riverwalk, owner Dave Sills told The Herald in April.

Legal Remedy markets its brew as “exempt from the ordinary” and its beers carry unique taglines such as on it’s “Alibi Ale,” which quips “it’s always good to have one.”

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