Goldsboro Brew Works launched to fill local void

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Goldsboro Brew Works co-owner Carson Clark pours a glass of New England IPA on Thursday, Aug. 23, 2018 at the taproom and bottle shop in downtown Goldsboro.



Monday, November 5, 2018

While stationed at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in Goldsboro, Zak Fein and Carson Clark quickly found out there were limited options when it came to trying to find a place to relax and have a drink.

“There was nowhere at all around here to get a good beer,” Fein said.

Fein said he and Clark started experimenting making beer and brewing in his garage during their free time. They believed for the longest time that the only way they could get good beer in the area was to make it themselves. Once Fein and Clark came to that conclusion, they started the process of finding a place where they could open their own taproom.

Fein and Clark, who were both F-15 aircraft mechanics at Seymour Johnson, opened Goldsboro Brew Works: Taproom & Bottle Shop in 2016 shortly after both decided during the spring of that year to leave the Air Force.

“Another one of our driving forces of opening up something in the community was because the DUI rate was terrible around here at one point,” Fein said. “A lot of guys drove to Raleigh, Wilson, Wilmington or anywhere to get something to drink, and then they would try to drive back.  We wanted to open a place for people like us to not have to do that.”

While starting any business is a risk, Fein acknowledged it was even more of a gamble since they were on active duty in the military.

“There was a lot of risk because there had been some people that tried to start craft breweries in the past in (Wayne) county and fail completely and it never worked out,” Fein said. “Also, it was a huge risk because we got out of the military, which was the absolute most stable career we could have, to start the most absolute unstable career. Most businesses fail in the first two years.”

Fein and Clark said their taproom sells a variety of craft beers. Fein said Goldsboro Brew Works has 22 beers that it keeps constantly cold in bottles, 30 beers that are constantly rotated on tap and about 250 beers in the bottle shop.

Goldsboro Brew Works has been converted from a homebrew supply store with a fenced-in back patio to a taproom, bottle shop and barcade featuring ping pong ball machines, skee ball and other classic arcade games. It’s open seven days a week and has live music every weekend.

“We’ve gotten a great response,” he said. “We got regulars and we meet new people everyday. We’re constantly getting Facebook likes, and we put billboards out there on U.S. 70 Bypass. People are seeing it and popping in on their way to the beach.”

Clark said the next step is to start a craft brewery but acknowledged they’re a little while off from making that happen.

“We’re still taking our time, and it comes down to finances because it’s a very expensive endeavor — but that’s our goal,” he said.

According to the NC Craft Brewers Guild, North Carolina boasts the largest number of craft breweries in the South, with more than 260 breweries and brewpubs. The craft brew scene in Eastern North Carolina has grown over the years.

Fein said a lot of that has been spurred by the fact the industry is saturated and because there are so many breweries and pubs in big metropolitan areas like Raleigh and Asheville has pushed people wanting to go into the industry to look at other locations.

“The next thing you do is go out further and instead of going to Asheville and starting that same dream that four other breweries started before you, why not provide that service to the people that live around us now?” he said. “You can save yourself so much money. Here, I’m a big fish in a very small pond. In Asheville, I would have been the tiniest fish there.”