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Joymongers hops into growing Greensboro brewing scene

by Rich Lewis

The local watering hole can be the center of a community, a gathering place for friends, a place to swap stories and make connections. And maybe in this day and age of social media and rapid-growth development, what we really need is a place to slow down, unwind and share a beer with the people around us.

Building one from the ground up is just what is happening in Greensboro’s Fisher Park neighborhood. Right at the edge of the city’s Downtown Greenway will sit the brand new Joymongers Brewing Company.

Built on the site of an old government-owned fueling station, owners Mike Rollinson, Jim Jones and Brian Jones have taken a vacant lot and built a new property that evokes the feeling of a well-converted old gas station. Featuring roll-up bay doors across the side facing one of the two beer gardens, Rollinson said that reclaimed industrial feel was something they were working for. It fits the area and that fit is just what the company is really based on.

Joymongers will feature two outdoor beer gardens, a spacious interior with a great repurposed industrial look and a really spectacular wood-topped custom bar. And yes, it was designed so patrons could look right in and see the gleaming brewery works as they enjoy the products. The stainless steel system is set up to allow brew master Rollinson to run different types of brews and different batch sizes at the same time.

“We’re hoping to open for the July 4 th holiday,” he said, “and we’re starting the brewing this week. We hope to open with 15 different brews on tap and some of those will be very small batches.”

They will also feature three different hard ciders from nearby producers, serve wine and offer homemade sodas.

“One of our main things is that we want to cover a lot of ground with what we’re offering here,” he continued. “Our goal is to change what we have on tap often so that when people come in, they can always try something new.”

“We’re going to do everything from German kolsch to America IPAs and we’ll always have a stout on tap. We’ll also be doing a lot of experimental beers along the way.”

Rollinson, who was a long-time brewer with Natty Greene’s, said the tap is really going to be the focus of the business.

“We’re going to be operating under a new format here and keep everything in house. We won’t be doing any wholesaling – we’re not going to be chasing accounts or tap handles. Our goal is to have our beer here and available for our customers. Each time I sell a beer, we’re losing a little bit of our stock, and I just want it all available to the folks who come here.”

That approach to doing a local brewery and hanging its hat on being just that, local, really runs throughout the whole business plan and model. Jim Jones, who is well known as a real estate and business developer, explained that Joymongers is built to be a lasting part of the community and an asset to the people and businesses that make up the neighborhood.

“I don’t do anything that I don’t intend to operate for a very long time,” he continued. “I’m one of the owners and developers of the Greenway at Fisher Park Apartments right across the street. We’ve been looking for something like this in the neighborhood. It is an amenity for the people living there and the surrounding area. We want Joymongers to help with growing this area and make it one of the best walkable parts of downtown.”

But right now, Greensboro does seem to be in a boom cycle for local brewing as more and more professional breweries pop up here and there. Is this a worry for Rollinson and the Joneses as they get ready to open?

No, not at all. The craft brewery business just doesn’t operate in a competitive arena.

“Most businesses that I’ve been involved in,” Jim Jones said, “if there’s someone else that does what you are doing, they are a competitor and a threat. The craft beer community doesn’t see it that way, though, as they feel that if they group together then the pie they share grows as well.”

“The beauty of the North Carolina brewing community,” Rollinson said, “is that everybody helps everybody else. If I call one of the other brewers and say that I loved one of their beers, they’ll let me know which hops they used if I ask. Nine out of 10 times the brewer is going to share their secrets with you.”

Are they coming late to the game, though? No, not really. North Carolina is one of the hotspots of the craft beer movement and Greensboro is actually lagging behind other cities in the state. Charlotte boasts some 40 local breweries and Raleigh has just broken the 20 mark. !

RICH LEWIS is a father, husband, writer and cook who makes his home in Greensboro, NC.

WANNA go?

Joymongers Brewing Company will be opening for the Fourth of July holiday. Located in the LoFi (Lower Fisher) area at 576 N. Eugene Street, the brewing company will be open seven days a week (hours are still being determined). Parking will be plentiful on site, making this a rare spot in downtown Greensboro.

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