July 2, 2014
"It's our last night of operation," said Fred Greenewalt, standing outside South Street Brewery, the brewery, bar, and restaurant he co-founded about 16 years ago. Standing next to him was co-owner Jacque Landry.
Behind the two, friends, regulars, and present and past employees gathered inside the bar off Charlottesville's Downtown Mall on Wednesday night for the owners' goodbye.
"It's bittersweet. A lot of familiar faces in there," said Greenewalt.
"Yeah, it's actually pretty cool 'cause a lot of guys in here were here the first year we opened, 16 years ago. So, it's people we've essentially grown up with," said Landry. "A lot of old employees are in. So, we're going to enjoy the evening."
They did not invite the crowd.
"People just knew," said Landry.
"The word just kinda got out," added Greenewalt.
"We kinda kept it that way on purpose because we wanted to really spend time. A lot of the old employees are in so we're gonna enjoy the evening," Landry wore a T-shirt inscribed with the words 'Satan's Pony,' an amber ale the microbrewery offers and its most popular beer.
The South Street Brewery opened in 1998. Greenewalt opened the restaurant with Duffy Papas, the owner of the Continental Divide on West Main Street. Greenewalt started working at South Street as the head brewer. After about three years he bought Duffy's share, becoming a partner.
"Besides Bisou, I think we're the only ones on the mall who's had continuous ownership as long as we have. Sixteen years is a pretty good run. We both have families. We started this in our twenties basically, and now we're not in our twenties anymore," said Landry, laughing.
"It requires a lot of energy and enthusiasm. The energy part is starting to wane, at least for me," said Greenewalt. "It's time to move on."
Greenewalt said several months ago he and Landry started to consider selling South Street.
"We got an offer from an old co-worker who offered to purchase the business. And we accepted the deal," said Greenewalt.
Other employees told the Newsplex that those previous co-workers are the Blue Mountain Brewery. The Newsplex called Blue Mountain on Tuesday night, but nobody commented on the sale.
South Street will remain open under the new owners. Landry said the new owners plan to have some of the same beers and introduce some new ones.
"They have a lot of energy and are excited about the prospects," said Greenewalt. "I'm sure they'll do well."
Greenewalt owns the property South Street sits on and will keep it.
"It's been great," said Greenewalt.
"It's been an amazing experience. I mean, I feel like South Street's been a really special and really unique place in town," said Landry.
The owners said they were shutting the doors at midnight.