Hi-Wire Brewing to Open Taproom in Louisville
The brewery currently has a total of five taprooms: two locations in Asheville, North Carolina; one in Wilmington, North Carolina; one in Durham, North Carolina; and one in Knoxville, Tennesee. Hi-Wire becomes the first brewery outside of the state of Kentucky to open a taproom in Kentucky.
What about Lousiville made the circus-themed brewery want to join the expanding Louisville craft beer scene and a city that is dominated by bourbon? First, Hi-Wire Brewing loves the city of Louisville, and the people of Louisville love Hi-Wire Brewing. Second, Hi-Wire saw this expansion as an opportunity to grow to markets further west. Co-owner Chris Frosaker also said that Hi-Wire never intends to expand to a “big” city, but prefers mid-size city with mid-level populations, which Louisville fit that bill.
When Hi-Wire began distributing their beer to Louisville in February 2018, Frosaker made various trips to Louisville to work with their wholesaler and get introduced to various retailers. That’s when he fells in love with the city.
“I love the unique neighborhoods,” Frosaker said. “I feel like a lot of towns are losing that feel. Louisville has neighborhood bars that kind of blows my mind. I love the feel of it. I love the architecture. Everything about it feels really, really good, so it’s kind of always been up there on our list of dream places to expand to.”
“Hi-Wire loves Louisville,” Alli Merrit, Hi-Wire Kentucky sales representative, said. “Like, seriously, before I was the rep for Kentucky, our owner Frosaker was running the market up here and got to see how cool of a city Louisville really is. The city makes a ton of sense for Hi-Wire in so many ways.”
Merrit has been the Kentucky sales representative since July 2019 and has seen first-hand how well Hi-Wire does in Kentucky, and especially in Louisville. Despite being an “outsider,” Merrit knew that Hi-Wire could be successful there.
“Honestly, we’re really just excited to be part of the scene,” Merrit said. “It’s always interesting to open up a taproom in a market that isn’t home state. There are so many questions. Are they going to like us? Will we fit in? What’s the reaction from other breweries going to be? And I can honestly say that Louisville and Kentucky Beer has been so welcoming to us.”
“I love Lousiville’s beer scene,” Frosaker echoed Merrit’s statements. “I think there are some amazing breweries there. I think there is some great beer coming out of the town. While the beer scene is awesome, Louisville really isn’t a beer town per se. It’s a bourbon town. And so, we like that because we feel there is the room where we can add to the scene.”
View this post on Instagram
When Hi-Wire got serious about their expansion to Louisville, they looked at all the various neighborhoods Louisville has to offer. Hi-Wire chose the Highlands neighborhood for their taproom, one that Frosaker is very familiar with. When Frosaker was making various trips to Louisville when Hi-Wire first began distributing there, he always stayed in the Highlands. He noticed the established food and bar scene and the easy connection to all other major parts of Louisville.
Despite looking at other parts of town, Frosaker knew in the back of his head, the Highlands was the neighborhood that we wanted to be in.
“I remember when I first moved to Louisville 10 years ago, and just being completely enamored with all the local restaurants and shops in the Highlands,” Merrit said. “There is such a fun and eclectic feeling in the neighborhood that I don’t think is replicated anywhere else in the city. For me, it feels pretty full circle for Hi-Wire to be opening up in the Highlands, and it really fits the culture of the brewery so it just makes sense.”
The Louisville Hi-Wire taproom is 5,500 square feet with a capacity of 267 people. It will have 21 taps with three dedicated to wine (a white, a rosê and a prosecco). The taproom will have a pilot brewing system for small test batches of never-done-before beers.
So what can Louisvillians expect from this outside brewery coming into their town? That Hi-Wire is a fun brand, and not because of its circus-themed approach to its branding. but in addition to that.
“First and foremost, we’re a fun brand. Beer is supposed to be fun,” Frosaker said. “A lot of breweries out there take themselves really, really seriously and we don’t. We’re here to have a good time, create a good environment and foster fun.”
The Hi-Wire Louisville taproom is set to open in Summer 2021. To read more about Hi-Wire Louisville, visit hiwirebrewing.com.