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Aviator Brewing Company

Aviator's Taphouse located in Fuquay-Varina's former train station.

Aviator’s Taphouse located in Fuquay-Varina’s former train station.

In late October I had an opportunity to check out a few local breweries in the greater Raleigh area. Before I left for my trip, I scoured around to see which ones I could visit. One of the closest to where I was staying was Aviator Brewing Company – a brewery I had never come across before. Having only “gotten off the ground” in 2008, it was relatively young in comparison to most of the others around. When I arrived, I included a beer from them in my sampler pack – Devil’s Tramping Ground Tripel. Packing a hefty 9.2% ABV, I enjoyed this beer thoroughly and decided to check out their taphouse in Fuquay-Varina. The taphouse was opened almost a year after the brewery began and is inside what used to be the town’s train station. I had the opportunity to try a few more beers in a sampler, enjoying many of them as well. Once I heard about the many Groupon deals they run for tours, I went and bought one for the coming Saturday.

Aviator Brewing

Exterior of the current brewery

The brewery is located in an industrial park just outside of Fuquay-Varina that has been the brewery’s home since 2010 after moving out of their original hangar (hence the name). The original head brewer of the company started in a hangar of his after worries of his job security during the 2008 recession. Good thing the craft beer industry was booming at the same time. Like our previous article has noted, craft breweries are starting the trend of canning their beers, and Aviator makes a great example of the benefits canning. While bottling required all their staff to focus on operating the bottling line, the canning system they recently purchased only requires 2 people to operate.

After the tour, I got a tasting glass, bumper sticker and a 4- or 6-pack of one of their canned year-round beers to take with me – making it well worth the $10 I paid towards the Groupon. What amazed me most is that after only being in business for around 5 years, the company already has grown significantly to a comparable output of other local breweries; hoping to produce ~20,000 barrels by the end of this year. With this growth are their hopes to continue expanding their distribution footprint to outside of North Carolina.

I had an enjoyable time visiting the taphouse and brewery and also had the opportunity to eat dinner another night at their smokehouse located across the street from the taphouse. Future plans are to have a patio restaurant located on the property with the brewery – giving many locations to house Aviator drinkers. I hope in the near future to see their beers make it as far north as Pennsylvania. At the rate they’re growing, I’m sure I won’t be waiting too long.

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Written by Kenton Martin

Kenton is a Southeast PA native who began diversifying his beer tastes alongside many of The Beer Circle writers at Zeno’s beerfests in State College, PA. He continues to live in the area and is an avid follower of the local microbreweries – going so far as to try his hand at brewing himself. Initial results have been very successful. Find Kenton Martin on Google Plus

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