D9 Brewing will more than double in size

Cornelius Mayor Woody Washam, Sandy Michel, Adam Connell, D9 co-founder John Ashcraft, Jackie McGrew, Lake Norman Chamber Chair Joshua Dobi. Photo by John McHugh/Ocaid

May 8. D9 Brewing plans to more than double the size of its Cornelius brewery, and at the same time add even more science to the art of brewing beer. D9 CEO Andrew Durstewitz, an engineer for 15 years, has grown the three-year-old company from $100,000 a year to what’s expected to be a $4.8 million year in annualized revenue in 2018.

Microbreweries and craft brewers comprise a macro industry, with $23.5 billion in annual revenues, according to Statista. The segment is growing, even as the business of mass-producing beers is flatter than yesterday’s brew. Overall U.S. beer volume sales were down 1 percent in 2017, while craft brewer sales continue to grow at a rate of 5 percent by volume, reaching 12.7 percent of the U.S. beer market in 2017.

Durstewitz, who started the company with another engineer and a chiropractor, will expand the operation to 30,000 square feet, increasing capacity to 30,000 barrels of beer a year. The brewery is located in 12,000 square feet of space on Treynorth Drive right now.

Making great beer is a science. Indeed, D9 develops new beers with the help of wild microflora purified and cultivated in the lab. Unlike standard brewing technologies, which typically add ingredients at the beginning or the end of the fermentation, D9 adds microflora at different stages in the fermentation process to deliver precise flavor profiles.

After aging the brews in oak, D9 uses a centrifuge to clarify the brew. There’s minimal contact with open air; dissolved oxygen stays below 16 parts per billion during the packaging phase.

D9, which was named the Lake Norman Chamber’s Small Business of the Year last week, has 15 full-time employees and over 27 event and part-time staffers. Joshua Dobi, Lake Norman Chamber chair, presented the Small Business of the Year Award to D9 co-owner John Ashcraft, along with Mayor Woody Washam and members of the D9 team. Durstewitz was at the Craft Brewers Conference in Nashville—along with 14,000 others in the industry—and could not attend. Ashcraft is also the owner of ChiroLife Wellness Center in Mooresville.

“We’ve kept our mission of inspiring and supporting community at the heart of all that we do,” Durstewitz says. “While this mission has been our primary focus, we’ve also stayed intent on growing a business that has more than doubled in size each year since its inception.”


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