Billy beer breaks ground in greene county – daily reflector electricity electricity music notes


The Northwest Greene Industrial Park, located on U.S. 264-Alternate near Walstonburg, is the future home of America’s first canned light craft beer. The 10,000-square-foot metal building is the first industry to occupy the 58-acre industrial park that broke ground in 2006.

Joining president and owner Billy Dunn of Greenville and his business partners, brother Donald Dunn, son Brad and brewmaster Ben Self, in the celebration were leaders in local and state government, economic development, commerce, investors, as well as family. Billy Beer is a subsidiary of Uptown Brewing Co. in Greenville,

Rick Davis, Greene County’s economic development director, thanked Jennie Harris of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, Van Rogers of the NCEast Alliance in Greenville, Hallie Hawkins of the Small Business Technical Development Center in Greenville, members of the Greene County Economic Development Commission and the Greene County Board of Commissioners for supporting the county’s economic development efforts.

“I’d like to thank Billy Beer,” Davis said. “This is a wonderful group of professionals that really have worked hard on their side to make this deal happen. This is a group of guys — along with their investors — that are as fine a group of professionals as I’ve had a pleasure to meet. They are going to be great county and community partners. They have already proven that to us. They will be a great advocate for the park and help us bring more business to the park.”

“Craft beer people don’t like to advertise light beer,” Dunn said. “Billy Beer is very unique. The folks we have met here in Greene County are unique also. This would not have happened without these two guys here, Rick and Kyle. You Greene Countians should be very, very proud of what you’ve got there.

“We are extremely excited about being your first partner in this industrial park,” Dunn said. “We have full intentions of being the best partners in the world with Greene County as well as trying to get other folks out here. We’re going to do it first class so you’ll be proud of us.”

“Our thanks go out to the citizens of Greene County and the commissioners who had the forethought to start this a long time ago,” Taylor said. “This is an extremely fast-paced job. The cooperation we are receiving from Greene County is phenomenal.

The county has invested up to $500,000 to help construct the facility on 4.3 acres. The building will consist of a concrete floor and additional floating floor covering approximately 30 percent of the space where brewing tanks will be stationed. The facility will include 1,5000 square feet of insulated office space and tap room/meeting space with heating and air conditioning.

The county will set up a lease-purchase agreement with Billy Beer Inc., which includes the reduced price of land. The monthly payment is based on a 30-year low interest loan schedule. The company will make a balloon payment for the balance in five years. The company will pay taxes and insurance, and the county will hold the mortgage until the loan is paid in full.

Electricity will need to be run to the Billy Beer site and a paved road will be put in. The company initially will operate on propane gas, while the county seeks a grant to help with the cost of extending a 16,000-foot gas pipeline to the industrial site.

In addition to Uptown Brewing Co., Dunn is president/owner of On the Waterfront restaurant in Washington, N.C. along with his son, Ross. He also owns the MainStreet Promotions advertising firm doing business in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.

“Jason Malone of Good People Brewing in Birmingham was very small then. He’d started just four months earlier and needed a lab rat,” Self said with a laugh. “I knew some basic microbiological techniques and stability testing. I traded that for the opportunity to learn how to make beer. He guided me in quality control.”

He worked in the lab at Good People Brewing, growing with the company and moved on to product freshness for stability for package product — cans and bottles. Self worked on the chemistry of beer brewing for 10 years, also doing consulting around the country.