DENVER – It was only a matter of time before the craft brew craze made its way to Lake Norman’s western shores.
That time has arrived, with Lake Norman Brewery planning to open later this summer.
The brewery, which is under construction on Triangle Circle, will be owned and operated by business partners David Waggoner and Dan Ackerman. Waggoner, a general contractor by trade, is overseeing the building process. Ackerman, a retired IT professional, will direct the brewing operation.
“I’m a builder and Dan, who’s the master brewer, actually bought the house I built next to mine on Lake Norman in Denver,” Waggoner said. “He continued to live at his home in northern Virginia, but every time he’d come down to his house on the lake he’d bring his latest craft beer that he brewed in his basement. I’d tried a lot of homemade craft beers, and they were usually OK at best, but his were really good. Everyone around here was very complimentary of his beer, and the next thing I know he’s out looking for land in Denver to build a brewery.”
The duo came across an 8-acre plot on Triangle Circle already zoned for business, and Ackerman has fully immersed himself in the project, including making a permanent move to his home on Lake Norman.
“We were looking for a location that wasn’t too far from the (N.C.) 16-73 interchange because we felt as though we’d lose valuable exposure the further north we went,” Waggoner explained.
While preparing the site for construction, remnants of a man-made earthen material were found on the property.
“My surveyor thought that maybe it was an old railroad track,” Waggoner said. “We continued to find more and what it actually was, was a huge pond. We realized it was an old, dry pond, and we could see where they had demolished the dam years ago to let the water go. There were huge trees growing where the base of the pond had been, so it must have been done away with a long time ago.”
The Denver area was actually founded as “Dry Pond” in the 1700s, with its name derived from a small pond that once stood at what is now the corner of N.C. 16 and Campground Road. The name was changed in 1873.
Given the history, Lake Norman Brewery will incorporate Dry Pond into some of its products.
“Our upper-end beers like our Double IPAs will be released under the ‘Dry Pond Brewery’ name, while our other beers will be labeled under ‘Lake Norman Brewery,’” Waggoner said.
The 9,000-square-foot brewery, which is being built with room for expansion, will house a three-barrel brewing system and a 15-barrel system, as well as a cannery, which will allow the local brews to be sold elsewhere.
The plan is to feature eight beers on tap, with a few seasonal varieties accompanying their year-round staples. The brewery will also produce its own line of spiked seltzers, and will offer wines and ciders produced by outside vendors as well.
Lake Norman Brewery has already been in contact with area restaurants like Sports Page and Two Sons Barbecue about offering food. It’s likely that food trucks will also be parked on-site, and the brewery may look into purchasing its own food truck to serve its customers.
The venue will include a large outdoor seating area, with adirondack chairs surrounding a fire pit.
“It’s really beautiful scenery and we’re hoping to be able to seat a lot of people outside,” Waggoner said. “That’s something we wanted to offer because a lot of the breweries around the lake, while they serve good beer, they’re confined to very small settings. … I’ve lived in this area for a long time and there’s a huge buzz for an outdoor venue like this. Everything is starting to come together and we’re very excited to open for business.”
For more information, visit LKNBrewery.com.