Industry Hill has a new neighbor opening its door soon….and the rest of the neighbors can’t wait, especially the Winston Cup Museum. Radar Brewing is set to welcome the public into its brewery by the end of the year. We caught up with the owners – no novices to the beer scene in our town – to learn more about how they got their start and how they plan to stand out in Winston-Salem.
But first, about that name…
Names are important – and can convey a lot. And Radar Brewing wasn’t just a catchy name that owners Aaron Wall, Eric Peck and Aaron Sizemore came up with.
“Radar represents the original creative vision that both Aaron Sizemore and I had for the project years ago,” shared Wall.
Radar Brewing, named for its symbolic association to innovation, modern design and discovery, represents both the technical and creative concept Wall and Sizemore originally envisioned for the brewery. Wall went on to explain that this vision was to create a space that was also innovative in the brewery business, in both the design elements that make up the look and vibe of the brewery and the beers themselves.
“Radar is an appropriate name for the brewery because we approach the craft of brewing as a discovery of new things…much like radar itself was in its time,” Peck explained.
Shifting from other careers to brewing
None of the three owners started out in brewing. Peck had a performing arts career in New York City and had worked at Brooklyn Brewery. There, he found a culture that infused a mixture between beer and art. And when he and his wife moved to Winston-Salem for her career, he began working at Foothills Brewing.
Sizemore and Wall had been high school friends and did some small-scale brewing together while pursuing their careers. Throughout the years, they talked about doing something on a commercial level, hoping to bring a different voice to the growing craft beer industry. With time, both became more involved in the industry.
The three owners’ resumes include stints in production at well-known breweries such as Wicked Weed, Natty Green’s and Foothills in Winston-Salem. The intention was to learn the industry inside and out by working at different breweries and eventually apply those learnings to their own business.
The kind of brewery to expect
Part of what is so intriguing about Radar is the fact that they don’t want to be pigeonholed into a type of brewery. For starters, their beer production technology involves something called clean, open fermentation. This lends itself to producing a wide variety of beers but traditionally Belgian styles…but don’t think that is all you’ll find at Radar.
“We really won’t focus on identifying a flagship-type lineup,” said Wall.
“We like to embrace seasonality and do things a bit differently. You’ll see lots of new and different interpretations but that doesn’t mean we won’t bring back some of our more popular beers from time to time. We just may do this less than other local breweries because we want to stay focused on discovery.”
The owners have done a lot of note-taking and working together over the years which is an important practice that will help them develop new beers.
Wall and Sizemore will have a shared focus on brewing while Peck plans to spend most of his time in front-of-house, retail operations. In addition, Sizemore will embrace the role of creative director for the company.
How Radar will be different
Aside from a focus on new beer varieties on a regular basis, Radar plans to differentiate itself with its public space. Wall and Peck believe that the space is a huge asset. Sizemore utilized a variety of materials to create the modern-inspired design, designing a space that’s interesting and has a unique vibe. Brewing is often described as a marriage between art and science, and the space will reflect this. The mix of art and science of the ownership team also helps to make that happen.
What to expect next
The owners believe Winston-Salem is in the midst of a good trend right now. Industry Hill is experiencing a major revitalization, becoming a notable destination for arts and entertainment… The building where Radar is located on Liberty Street will eventually house an upstairs private event space, a lower level restaurant with outdoor seating and even an AirBnB containing five apartments. The building is owned by Will and Christy Spencer, owners of our museum.
“It’s a pretty incredible compound. My understanding is that the vision is to have all elements of the building working together to complement each other,” shared Peck.
Radar plans to be open by the end of the year.
“There’s always room for good beer, especially in a growing city like Winston-Salem,” said Wall. “We’re excited to be a part of this growing industry both here and in the greater southeast United States.”
Peck agrees. “Winston can handle another brewery. Growth here has been fast and of high-quality, with plenty of residential living downtown. It’s a natural fit to have another brewery opening alongside spaces to live. It only ups the experience of living in Winston-Salem.”