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Something new is brewing at Greenville’s iconic Old Cigar Warehouse

Ross Norton //May 20, 2024//

All of the brews at New Realm’s Greenville site will be aged in wooden barrels, like these that first saw service as whisky barrels. (Photo/Ross Norton)

All of the brews at New Realm’s Greenville site will be aged in wooden barrels, like these that first saw service as whisky barrels. (Photo/Ross Norton)

All of the brews at New Realm’s Greenville site will be aged in wooden barrels, like these that first saw service as whisky barrels. (Photo/Ross Norton)

All of the brews at New Realm’s Greenville site will be aged in wooden barrels, like these that first saw service as whisky barrels. (Photo/Ross Norton)

Something new is brewing at Greenville’s iconic Old Cigar Warehouse

Ross Norton //May 20, 2024//

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The newest thing in Greenville is in a 150-year-old building.

Atlanta-based New Realm Brewing Co. hosted a grand opening celebration for its fifth location on May 17, this one in the iconic and renovated Old Cigar Warehouse at 912 S. Main St.

New Realm’s leadership team was joined by Greenville Mayor Knox White and Greenville Drive owner Craig Brown at a barrel tapping event to mark the official opening. New Realm is the official craft brewer for the Greenville Drive baseball club.

In a time where a string of small brewery closings may be signaling saturation point for the industry, New Realm CEO Carey Falcone says his company brings a level of depth, expertise and dedication that represents a hedge against failure. They’re beer guys, he said, but they knew they had to be more than that.

“We all had long careers in the beer business before we started doing this,” he said of New Realm Brewing Co. “It’s not a job for us; it’s a culmination of our life’s work and we all dump a lot of time, effort and passion into this.”

As much as they like the zymological foundation of their business, Falcone said the three founders wanted a company that did not thrive on beer alone.

“We got some feedback about five years ago from an industry consultant who told us if five years from today you all are a craft brewery, you will be one of two things: dead or dying,” he said. “So we focused on diversification and bringing in people with passion and really wanting to do things differently. If you look at the craft beer industry in the Southeast, craft beer is down 10%; we’re up 30% as a company year to date and our flagship brand, Hazy Like a Fox, is up 62% year to date. So we’re performing differently in the market and I think the way that we approach the business is a little bit different than other people are doing it.”

Related: Pioneering craft brewery closing after a decade in business

“We’re just different in a lot of ways,” he said. “The way that we outfit our locations is just different than most breweries. We also are as passionate about our spirits and our food as we are about our beer.”

New Realm Brewing Co.’s leadership team includes cofounders Carey Falcone, CEO, and Mitch Steele, chief operating officer and brewmaster. (Photo/Ross Norton)
New Realm Brewing Co.’s leadership team includes cofounders Carey Falcone, CEO, and Mitch Steele, chief operating officer and brewmaster. (Photo/Ross Norton)

That difference is part of the reason the founders took an arduous journey is choosing a name, considering literally thousands of options before “New Realm” hit with a certain ring that made the guys a little more satisfied each time they applied it.

The name spoke of their desire to do things differently, to question old rules and standards and adapt to new ideas.

The company has five locations and two more in development, Falcone said. Each is different. The site in Virginia Beach, Va., is notable for its large size, including a two-acre beer garden. The New Realm in Auburn, Ala., is folded into an academic fermentation science program at Auburn University, where beer is brewed on campus by the next generation of brewers. The original site in Atlanta also serves exclusively Georgia-made spirits. Greenville’s site will be unlike the rest, said Falcone and cofounder/brewmaster Mitch Steele.

The Old Cigar Warehouse renovation including preserving the old signage. Although New Realm Brewing Co. will sell cigars in its speakeasy as a nod to the building’s history, they won’t go for a nickel as the old sign advertises. (Photo/Ross Norton)
The Old Cigar Warehouse renovation including preserving the old signage. Although New Realm Brewing Co. will sell cigars in its speakeasy as a nod to the building’s history, they won’t go for a nickel as the old sign advertises. (Photo/Ross Norton)

“We looked for a site in Greenville for probably three years and when we stumbled upon this site and saw it for the first time we were like, ‘Oh this is going to be home,’” Falcone said. “So when we updated the building we didn’t want to destroy any of the things that we loved about it. “When we did the speakeasy — we don’t serve cigars in any of our locations but we thought, oh, it’s a cigar warehouse; we’ve got to serve cigars.”

In addition to its lineup of beers, the new location features a full-service 300-seat multi-level restaurant featuring locally sourced scratch food and handmade cocktails made with flagship and special release spirits to highlight regional flavors and ingredients. The 11,000-square-foot interior includes a barrel-aging brewery, scratch kitchen, multiple bars, event spaces and the speakeasy. The location includes a large beer garden, live music, indoor and outdoor dining. The second phase of the buildout will focus on a deck beside the railroad tracks, patio awning, fireplace and stage.

Brewing creativity and innovation are the focus at the Greenville location, according to a news release. The team has been collecting interesting barrels and will use unique ingredients including local fruits and herbs for a wide variety of beers including mixed culture fermentations, barrel-aged strong beers, traditional and historic wood-aged beers (English, Belgian and German), Belgian and American sour styles and fruited beers.

The brewery is equipped with four American white oak foeders for aging and fermentation, stainless-steel tanks for fermentation, blending and packaging, a fruit addition tank, a coolship for starting natural fermentations, many oak barrels for aging and fermentation, and four serving tanks in the main bar area. The first beers expected for release include a wood-aged Belgian Saison, a Belgian Triple, a batch of seasonal favorite Oaxaca Choca aged in a foeder and a series of Czech Pilsners fermented and aged in oak.

CEO Falcone said the company was committed to maintain the historical integrity of the Old Cigar Warehouse. (Photo/Ross Norton)
CEO Falcone said the company was committed to maintain the historical integrity of the Old Cigar Warehouse. (Photo/Ross Norton)

The New Realm Greenville brewery is led by Steele and Brian Faivre, with Luke DesJardins as on-site lead brewer. Executive Chef Josh Wight brings more 12 years of culinary experience to the Greenville kitchen. He was trained in France by two French master chefs and then cultivated a flair for Latin food in Argentina. Most recently he traveled the country in a converted school bus, helping people develop their farm-to-table enterprises.

“We have a very elevated gastro pub menu with a world flair,” Wight said. “I’m hoping to add a little of my flair into that. It’s a scratch kitchen. We do literally every sauce from scratch and I’m trying to incorporate a lot of Mitch’s great beers into our food.”

New Realm’s flagship beers include Hazy Like a Fox IPA, Kickflipper West Coast IPA, Psychedelic Rabbit and Tank Dog. The brewery also has successful partnerships with the American rock band Blackberry Smoke in addition to Auburn University, Georgia Tech and Old Dominion University, the news release stated. New Realm also brews Rallyville Lager in partnership with the Greenville Drive.

“We’re set up to bring a family here on the weekends for a nice meal, great place to come for a date, weddings, big events, small events — we’re set up to handle all of that,” Falcone said. The speakeasy is accessed by a discreet door from the inside or through a sunken patio on the exterior. It will have its own menu, whiskeys, cigar and a couple of special beers.

New Realm craft brewery and distillery started in 2016 by cofounders Falcone, Steele and Bob Powers. The company’s awards include multiple Great American Beer Fest gold medals, Brewbound’s Rising Star Brewery, Ratebeer’s “Best New Brewer in Georgia” and “Best New Brewer in the World.”

Steele was awarded the Russell Scherer Award for Innovation in Brewing and authored the book IPA

New Realm craft brewery and distillery started in 2016 by co-founders Falcone, Steele and Bob Powers. New Realm’s awards include Multiple Great American Beer Fest gold medals (2022), Brewbound’s “Rising Star” Brewery, Ratebeer’s “Best New Brewer in Georgia,” Ratebeer’s 11th “Best New Brewer in the World”, and Virginia Craft Beer Cup’s gold medal (2019 & 2021) and “Best in Show” for Euphonia Pilsner (2019). Brewmaster Mitch Steele was awarded the Russell Scherer Award for Innovation in Brewing and authored the book IPA: Brewing Techniques, Recipes and the Evolution of India Pale Ale.

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