As if owning and operating a brewpub isn’t challenging enough, Wilmington native Jud Watkins has decided to take on another one—cider.
Brunswick Beer and Cider Company is coming soon(ish) to a Brunswick Forest near you.
We sat down with Watkins to get the scoop.
Ale Trail (AT): Congratulations! Let’s get the most annoying question out of the way first—what’s your timeline?
Jud Watkins (JW): 2020 might be a little ambitious but I definitely hope to be operation winter 2020/2021.
AT: What do you think staffing will look like? Will brewers be splitting time between Brunswick Beer and Cider (BCC) and Wrightsville Beach Brewery?
JW: Regarding brewers specifically, we will definitely be bouncing staff back and forth, but we would also like to bring in someone with a lot of cider experience. As you know, TTB treats cider more like wine than beer. In our eyes, there is a lot more overlap with beer, than wine, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be an entirely different challenge for us.
AT: That’s great! So, what are you most excited about?
JW: I am probably most excited about the cider portion and the challenges that will ensue. I look forward to retraining myself and training alongside our staff as we attempt to perfect fermentation techniques with ciders. There are so many fun opportunities with ciders; barriers to be broken down as we have seen with craft beer over the last two decades.
AT: Will the food menu mimic Wrightsville Beach Brewery’s or will you be going a different direction?
JW: I anticipate we will take about half of our menu over with us to BBC (if we don’t serve the Thai Chili Cauliflower Tempura, I fear there would be rioting). But I also want BBC to have some of its own trademark items on its food menu. We hope to continue to keep the ingredient sourcing as local as possible as we have done here at Wrightsville Beach Brewery.
AT: Who else is tackling this with you?
JW: I am fortunate to be joined in the business adventure with my lifelong friend, Will Cameron. Will and I grew up together selling Brunswick County grown Silverqueen corn on the side of the road. We have wanted to work together for a long time and it’s exciting to have finally reached the point in our careers where we can work as business partners.
AT: Anything else?
JW: Don’t be surprised if you see a tie-in with a local theme at BBC too. We have a lot of fun naming beers here at Wrightsville Beach Brewery; sometimes its a random fun name we all loved but more times than not, the names are a nod to the awesome community we live in.