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Microbrewery gets permit for downtown Wendell location

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WENDELL — Town leaders on Tuesday signed off on a business owner’s plan to open a microbrewery in downtown Wendell.

The town required the business to apply for a special use permit because the microbrewery would be serving alcohol but not food. The Wendell Board of Commissioners voted 4-0 to award the permit.

The business owners, Derek and Keri Ayscue and Dave Lewis, said they plan to announce the name of the brewery after going through a trademark process. A date for its opening has not been announced.

The microbrewery will include a tap room and outdoor seating and could hold up to 88 customers. The owners say they plan to heavily renovate the building, 32 N. Main St., before opening.

The brewery would be open seven days a week and will host occasional events and offer periodic tours.

“Our vision is we want to be an anchor point for the community of Wendell,” Derek Ayscue said. “We want to be a place to come to and have social gatherings, have meetings, events on-site.”

Ayscue, who has a background in finance, said he will be the brewer and plans on making the business his new career. He lives in Raleigh.

“We want to also help maintain that small-town feel,” Auscue said.

At a public hearing before the vote, local business owner Paul White encouraged the board to OK the permit.

“I think this would be very good for Wendell,” White said. “I think that it would also, for Wendell Falls, it might get a few people turning right instead of left and checking things out.”

No one spoke in opposition.

Commissioner Ben Carroll was not present for the otherwise unanimous vote awarding the permit. Board members said the microbrewery might benefit economic development downtown.

“I spent my weekend in Kinston at a brewery there and saw what one little thing could do for a town that otherwise doesn’t have much,” Commissioner Jon Lutz said. “And I’m not saying we don’t have much. I’m saying one little thing can spark a lot of things. I think this is a great start.”

Keri Ayscue said the owners were pleased with the vote and are ready to “get the ball rolling” toward opening the microbrewery.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the commissioners:

• Declared some property as surplus to be auctioned.

• Approved $17,400 to add 14 street lights to Wendell Falls Parkway from Jake May to Landing View drives.