LAKE LURE, N.C. (WSPA) – A bit over a mile northwest of Lake Lure Beach is a spot near the Chimney Rock Park entrance that has become a favorite.

Moving to North Carolina from Texas, Marc and Merri Fretwell opened Hickory Nut Gorge Brewery in 2015. Merri said the beauty of the area was the main draw.

“We wanted to come here because this is a little piece of heaven.  Our son is thirteen and we wanted him to be raised in an area where it was…it was just nature. We had been looking to open a small brewery since we met in 2006. And when we moved here we decided…we had a lot of help from a lot of the leadership in town to try to find a place.” 

Marc is a U.S. citizen who was born in England, a background that gave rise to the brewery and its themes.

“My father was my main driving force, he used to brew homebrew.  And when we lived in Texas he would be making one and I would go, oh, this is nice and I can’t get any beer that I liked, so I’ll make that! And it just snowballed.” 

In 2019, growth led them to move the brewing from this original site to a second taproom in Mars Hill, located in an old theater. 

Whether it’s beer or food, Hickory Nut Gorge brings a taste of England to Rutherford County.  

Other than East Coast IPAs, the majority of their beers are English-style. From ESB to Barleywine to cask beers. The total list is around ten and they will rotate them through the year. 

They even have something with a very local flavor, according to Marc.

“We have a wild beer that’s made from wild yeast out of the gorge that we harvest. That’s also very popular.” 

Being located right on the Broad River is one of the main attractions here for both tourists and for local families.

But that river can sometimes flood. Merri said events like that keep the community working together. 

“I guess it was right before COVID we had a lot of damage in the village, and we did a fundraiser with a silent auction to raise funds to go to the community for that. Really this is a close-knit community, the owners all know each other, we all try to support each other in ways to make sure that we’re all giving different things to the people that come visit us.” 

A community spirit that makes this area so attractive. 

“You could not wish for a better place to have a business. It’s wonderful.”

Enjoy Responsibly.