You May See More Breweries And Distilleries Popping Up In Gastonia
GASTONIA, NC. — Jim Morasso owns the theatre, turned popular restaurant, Webb Custom Kitchen in the heart of downtown Gastonia. The next venture he’s considering, a distillery to a Main Avenue property he is buying.
“I think that a distillery is an outstanding profitable business for the person who’s doing it. It’s also a very affordable entertainment experience. Same thing with breweries,” says Morasso.
On February 18th, Gastonia modernized their zoning language for distilleries and breweries. Right now, there is one brewery in Gastonia.
“So by loosening up some of the square footage requirements, some of the kitchen requirements it really allows more flexibility to attract a real brewery or distillery. Which is really what people are wanting right now,” says Kristy Crisp with the City of Gastonia Economic Development.
Crisp says the light rail will be a game-changer. Charlotte City Council approved a $50 million design study for the LYNX Silver line back in November. The train would run from Matthews to Belmont, with stops in uptown, east and west Charlotte, and the airport.
“Really what we’ve seen is that breweries have become really a destination. A tool for economic development. So we just want to capitalize on that in addition to the light rail heading this way from Charlotte,” she says.
Morasso thinks the city is heading in the right direction, “It’s exciting to see the rebirth in the blank canvas that Gastonia is to allow us to paint it the way we want to paint it.”
According to the North Carolina Brewers Association, the annual economic impact of craft beer in North Carolina is $1.2 billion dollars. Which could give a big boost to the local economy.
Franklin Urban Sports and Entertainment District is a major development project in Gastonia. There’s a brewery being constructed there now.