LELAND BREWING COMPANY--IT TRULY IS ‘THE PLACE OF US’
By: Jan Morgan-Swegle
The Leland Brewing Company is not your typical brewery. It’s more like an event center that serves 23 styles of beers, made right on the premises. Located at 2115 Ale Avenue, this brewery is shaping up to be a new favorite hangout spot for people of all background and of all ages — even dogs are welcome.
Besides beer brewed on site, the Brewery also serves wine, cocktails and “kid-friendly” drinks. The brewery has four different area — you can sit inside at the bar or tall tables and watch TV, sit outside and watch people play cornhole or listen to music, or you can go upstairs and sit and talk. You can even go out on the porch upstairs, sit in the rocking chairs and watch the world go by. Each part of the brewery has a different feel.
Local artists provide entertainment and food trucks provide meals on wheels. If that sounds too routine, on special days, you can bring your exercise mat and participate in a goat yoga session. Co-owner Mark Said explained, “We fenced off a large area and brought in small goats from a petting zoo and then sent people in with their exercise mats. You can sit on your mat and relax and watch the goats eat grass before you start your workout. After they eat, they will come over and climb all over you, while you try to do some yoga poses!” He laughed and said, “People had a great time doing that.” It’s that “out-of-the-box” thinking that makes the Leland Brewing Company a great addition to Leland. “Everyone on the team brings a lot to the table in terms of experience and ideas,” he said.
Mark is originally from New York City. “Leland is a community of transplants and different cultures, which makes the town such a diverse place,” he said. “It’s not country, not quite city and I think that’s why we have such wide appeal. We’re not your typical date night place. We are a family-oriented place. You can come with your date, but you can also bring your kids and even your dog here. We are a welcoming environment and believe we have something for everyone. Hang around outside by the fire, sit at one of our large tables and have a picnic, throw some plastic axes at a target, run around the open field. Have fun.”
Mark and his partners not only wanted to open a brewery in Leland, but they also wanted to bring jobs here by providing opportunities in marketing, food services, entertainment, production, and manufacturing.
Like the brewery, Mark and his partner, Chris LaCoe, and principals, Ethan Hall and Nick Floyd, have diverse backgrounds that helped to bring Leland Brewing Company here. Mark has a consulting background, Chris was in the restaurant business, Ethan is a firefighter and has an extensive knowledge of brewing beer, and Nick has a sales background.
“Everyone has their own area of expertise that blended well and will help us grow the brand over time,” Mark explained.
The brewery opened in June, 2023, but according to Chris LaCoe, it was a five-year process that started with looking at properties on U.S. 17. “We bought the land in 2019 and got funding approval from a bank in February of that year,” he said. “All of a sudden, everyone was dealing with COVID, and all of our plans and production just came to a complete stop. It wasn’t until the end of 2020 that we were able to start up again here on Ale Street and then, like everyone else, we were hit with supply chain issues. But everything worked out in the end. We have a lot of possibilities for growth on this property and we enjoy being here. The Town of Leland has been very accommodating to us, and we appreciate what they are doing to bring new business to this area.”
In talking to Chris about the diversity of the clientele that the brewery brings in, he said, “I see new and different people here all of the time. I think 30 to 40 percent of customers I talk to tell me it’s the first time they have stopped in, and they really like what we’re doing. We would all like to see Leland Brewery become a hang out spot. Come early, enjoy some beer. Our most popular IPAs are Seneca Guns, Hazy Dayz, Shay Day and MOV, we have a great selection.”
Mark added, “We have weekly corn hole tournaments every Tuesday evening, live music on Saturday and Sunday starting at 6 pm, and for the holidays, we’re going to have a Toys for Tots collection box until Dec. 10. We’re having an Ugly Sweater competition and an Angel Tree. Santa Claus will be here on Dec. 21, so bring your children and pets and get a picture with Santa.”
Leland Brewery has gotten off to a great start. By the end of the first quarter, 2024, they hope to have their food walk up window open. So make sure to come out and enjoy the beer, the atmosphere, and especially the people.
As the author of “The Place of Us,” Karen Draper said, “Diversity doesn’t look like anyone. It looks like everyone.” So come on down to the Leland Brewery and see “everyone.” You’ll fit right in.