NEW BUSINESS: Belhaven’s first microbrewery to open Saturday, July 1

Published 2:11 pm Tuesday, June 27, 2023

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As Belhaven residents and visitors take part in the town’s three-day Fourth of July celebrations, they will be able to kick back by the waterfront and enjoy a brew from ICW Brewery – the town’s first microbrewery. 

Located at 265 E. Water Street in a coral building, ICW Brewery is on track to open Saturday, July 4, says owner and operator Bryan Bennett. 

Looking for a change after working in the car business for 25 years, Bennett is opening the brewery about seven months after moving to Belhaven from the Outer Banks. 

He mentioned wanting to open a business in Belhaven to Carol Roop, executive director of the Belhaven Community Chamber of Commerce. “Next thing I know, 60 days later, here we are,” Bennett said. 

ICW Brewery will feature three of Bennett’s own citrus IPA recipes and eight selections from breweries across the state. On Monday, June 26, Bennett had Tight Lines Pub & Brewing Co.’s Red Drum and Shackleford Dank on tap as well as Fortnight Brewing Co.’ s Carolina Amber and Mash Pit Lager. Tight Lines is based in Morehead City, but Fortnight is from Cary. 

What separates ICW from other breweries in Beaufort County is that it is self-pour.

At self-pour establishments, customers pay by the number of ounces of beer they pour. When they arrive, they show their driver’s license and the card they are paying with in exchange for a card that keeps track of how many ounces of beer they’ve poured. Customers swipe the card in front of the beer of their choice and pour. 

Bennet said the price of beers vary; however, the average price will be between $7 and $8 for 16 oz. 

To make sure no one is over-served, the system stops pouring for a customer who has poured three beers. Upon assessment and approval from Bennett a customer may be allowed to purchase more, he said. 

Bennett chose the self-pour route, because he wanted to keep the business “as family owned and operated as much as possible” and it’s a “niche that I think is cool.” Also, customers can drink at their own pace, and not have to wait to be served by a bartender.  

Bennett’s goal with ICW Brewery is to keep everything as local to North Carolina as possible from the brews to the bar. Local patrons will recognize Bennett’s bar, because it was crafted by Belhaven artist Buck Radcliffe. The bar is made to look like the stern of a Privateer boat. 

When asked why people should consider opening a business in Belhaven, Bennett said everyone in town government and at the Chamber are friendly and “super excited to bring any business in and doing everything they can to keep it.” 

ICW Brewery will be open Monday through Friday from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m., on Saturdays from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. and on Sundays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. They will also serve wine and soft drinks.