Salud expanding into new 3,100-square-foot taproom

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It took Jason Glunt three batches of house-brewed beer to know that the plans for his nanobrewery weren’t going to work out the way he’d envisioned.

Already the owner of Salud Beer Shop in NoDa, he’d had dreams of small-scale brewing since mid-2014. He bit the bullet, got his permits and bought a one-barrel Blichmann system that following August.

Despite the best efforts of a team of volunteer brewers, entire batches kept kicking too quickly for production to keep pace.

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“We tried and it was great,” he said of his nanobrewery days, “but it was too much work for two days’ worth of beer.”

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So, it’s time to grow: he’s signed a lease on the 3,100-square-foot space that sits above both the bottle shop and next-door deli darling FūD at Salud.

This space will become the future taproom for his reinvented brewery, to be known as Salud Cerveceria.

Salud is targeting an early spring grand opening date for the taproom space.

Production capacity should increase seven-fold, courtesy of a pending equipment-sharing arrangement with neighborhood brewpub Heist Brewery, which is also in the middle of its own expansion.

Salud has already secured a head brewer for this project, and Adam Glover packs quite the résumé. He’s had his hands in Natty Greene’s sour program, birthed Appalachian Mountain Brewing’s sour and barrel aging program, and is now the right-hand-man at Fonta Flora.

“I was basically planning this brewery just to help (Jason) as a friend,” says Glover, who now finds himself in the driver’s seat. “But when (the space next door and upstairs) became available, the conversations got grander.”

The plan is to ferment all their “clean” beer over at Heist, but truck unfermented wort over to Salud for an on-site wild ale program. There, it’ll feed a pair of foeders (say Foo-der), several stainless tanks, and a small brigade of barrels.

All this spells massive change to the current FūD at Salud space. Essentially the entirety of their current dining room will become future fermentation space.

“We can only be so busy,” says FūD owner Jeff McElwee of his current spatial limitations. “There’s only so many sales we can do in a day with the space that we have. The expansion (upstairs) is really going to triple the amount of space we have for seating.”

Expect to see FūD at Salud benefiting in other ways as well, like “a lot more room to try new things, like the addition of an exhaust hood. We can change the menu, and really do some dinner things. It’s the next step.”

Speaking of next steps, what beers will Salud be brewing on a larger scale?

We’ve already seen waffle imperial stouts and cucumber saisons; what else is up their sleeves?

Expect the brettanomyces-fermented Like A Ship IPA to feature into heavy rotation, with a Mexican lager potentially playing a co-starring role.

“We’re definitely going to have, of course, some IPAs, some super-juicy pale ales,” says Jason Glunt, rattling off a laundry list of libations. “Plus, we’ll have our wild program, with foeders and solera and stuff, mixed-culture saisons, fruited sours, all that good stuff.”

Lastly, what can we expect of the future upstairs taproom?

For starters, Jason Glunt has big plans for those 3,100 square feet, a space that’s larger than his current bottle shop and FūD at Salud combined.

“We have room to do different art shows, live music, DJ nights, lots of community events and pop-ups,” he says. “We want to create a community space, and host private events.”

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Expect 12-14 taps on deck, wisely being fed from a first-floor cold room that will inhabit Salud’s current office space.

A weathered red door is all that currently marks the future space, opening into an immediate stairwell to upstairs. A back staircase will also access the new upstairs space, with the hallway already getting the trademark Salud mural treatment.

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“The idea is always to have Salud as the mainstay,” says Glover. “We could call the brewery whatever we wanted. (Salud) has its own lifestyle, its own meaning, its own flavor.”

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The legion of fans already in love with the Salud atmosphere will know what to expect from this not-so-nano brewery.

“What do we do conventionally?” asks Jason Glunt. “Nothing.”

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Jonathan Wells
| @AllTheWells |
Jonathan Wells is the beer writer for Charlotte Agenda.