What do you do when your favorite brewery decides to close?
Gather some friends to buy it, or course! That’s the strategy that led to Gizmo
Brew Works, a brewery and tasting room on a warehouse-filled in northwestern
Raleigh. Formerly Roth Brewing Company, Gizmo started after the owners of Roth decided
to close their doors. A group of Roth fans bought out the brewery and rechristened
it in January, 2013.
Cofounder Bryan Shaw sat for an interview in the office at
the brewery. Outside the door, people filled the bar and tables in the
cement-floored tasting room. A food truck served people outside the opened garage
doors. Bryan was always a fan of local breweries and likes nothing better than
to sit with the crowds and talk. He drives to Raleigh once a week to help out. “It’s
just like we used to do, only now we’re working,” he says. He’s toyed with the
idea of having the title of “Executive Engineer of Enthusiasm.”
“That’s my favorite thing, is just talking to people, seeing
what their experience is, helping them have a good time, sharing news about
other breweries and beer... we all like sharing news about what’s happening.”
Short brewery tours occur every Saturday at 2 and 4. (RSVP here.)
I joined the crowd for Bryan’s tour that afternoon. The brewery is so small that the tour occurs
all in one place: Bryan pointed out the back room in which grain is stored, the
small mill for cracking the grain (it has a drill attached to power it), the
mash tun in which grain is steeped to make a “tea” and then strained out (it
goes to a local farmer), the boil kettle in which hops are added, and the vats
in which the brewing beer ferments and then is cooled with added carbonation.
He answered questions and lingered to assist the visitors who wanted to peek in
the back room and examine the works more closely.
Gizmo’s beers have been selling out since the beginning. They’ve
upgraded to larger kettles, but they’re still one of the smallest breweries in
the state; Bryan laments that he cannot take a keg home with him. Now that
their beers are sold at retailers like Weaver Street Market, demand is even
Visit Gizmo Brew Works online, or watch a video of our visit
on our Youtube channel.