Young Hearts Distillery

The ownership group of this North Carolina distillery leaned on Plan North Partners to help guide their major renovation project from design to completion.
  • Location Raleigh, NC
  • Completion 2021
  • Type Renovation
  • Size 7,200 SF
  • Architect Maurer Architecture
  • Contractor Riley Lewis

The Challenge

In 2009 the Busy Bee Cafe and the Hive opened on Wilmington Street in downtown Raleigh. The owners soon launched Trophy Brewing in 2013, and by 2015 they had opened a new production facility and taproom on Maywood Avenue. The new location gave them the chance to expand production, increase barrel aging capacity, and reach more patrons. In 2019 the team started renovations on the Maywood Avenue building. The patio and seating areas were expanded and a green roof with over 100 solar panels were installed. The newly renovated

“It started off as a beer bar and restaurant,” said Chris Powers, owner, Trophy Brewing Company. “A place where we always wanted to hang out, and we wanted to enhance that with a distillery.”

“This was a really cool project for us,” said Meredith Kirkpatrick, Architect, Mauer Architecture. “Our firm had worked on the building multiple times. We were seeing it evolve over time and this project was really the next phase of its evolution.”

There were many factors to consider when creating this addition to their business. A distillery needed a 300 liter still and subsequent storage of those spirits. There were also electrical needs, HVAC needs, logistics and barrel storage. Trying to run a construction project while still operating their existing businesses proved to be a challenge for the ownership team. It was hard to govern all the decision making and ensure that everyone had a voice at the table.

The Trophy Brewing Company ownership team functions much like a board of directors, and everyone’s voice had to be captured during the project and funneled into one direction. “Everyone on the ownership team has their niche,” said Powers. “We took what we had learned over the years and applied it to the project, but all our experiences were limited.”

The Solution

They decided to bring in Plan North Partners to help them manage their construction project. “It was the first time we had ever worked with an owner’s rep,” said Powers. “Stitching all of the owner’s needs together was huge from a project management perspective.”

Plan North Partners brought their experience in commercial construction project management to the table and guided Trophy Brewing Company’s team through the completion of the project. They served as a second set of eyes for the schedule, quality, and budget. They led weekly meetings with all the stakeholders and made sure they held all parties accountable for any action items. “Greg led those meetings and kept everyone on task,” said Kirkpatrick.

“They advocated for us in many situations where we didn’t even know we needed to be advocated for,” said Powers. “Accountability was so important to make this a success. We were busy running our own businesses, so it was hard to make time for this too.”

“When the construction is done, that is when things really start for the owners,” said Kirkpatrick, “You essentially must start a business at that point. Having someone that helps finish construction is a huge value from an owner’s perspective.”

The Result

Young Hearts Distilling opened downtown in 2021. Bringing in an owner’s representative to manage the project not only saved the Trophy Brewing Company team time and stress, but it translated into cost savings as well. Plan North Partners was able to generate $115,000 in savings, which was more than three times their fee.

Having a project management company on board also allowed Trophy Brewing Company to focus on the operations of the business and leave the construction management to someone else. “Working with Greg and Jenny from Plan North Partners was a great experience,” said Powers, “It really opened our eyes.”

Keeping everyone on task and serving as the one point of contact, took some of the burden off other partners working on the project as well. “In the end, an owner’s representative is carving things off of everybody’s plate,” said Kirkpatrick.