The story of Catawba Brewing begins with a Christmas gift in 1994. Billy Pyatt, a notoriously hard guy to buy presents for, fell in love with the carboys, pots, hydrometers, grains, hops, chemistry, and physics involved in brewing. His brother, Scott, fell right in with him. Their love became an obsession.
When the business plan was hatched, the Pyatts bought the assets of a defunct brewery in CO, flew out there, rented a U-haul and brought it home to NC. Of course, it stayed in a garage for three years while they searched for an appropriate building. They finally found a spot in Glen Alpine, NC. While it didn’t have any glass in the windows and ivy was growing inside, the price was right at $200 per month. There weren’t many turnkey breweries back then, so the pieces and parts were cobbled together from dairy equipment or hand-made. That produced enough money to buy some ingredients, make another batch … rinse and repeat.
These days Catawba Brewing is one of the Southeast’s largest and most diverse craft brewing entities operating four breweries and tasting rooms and distributing in five states. A favorite that is always on tap at the state of the art brewery and taproom in Charlotte is the White Zombie. The White Zombie is the brewery's flagship Belgian-style Witbier, using unmalted wheat to produce its light body and white sheen. Coriander and orange peel lend a touch of fruit and spice.
Cover photo courtesy of Catawba Brewing.