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Coming together: Bryson City Brewing to join WNC craft beer scene

Taking over the former Nantahala Brewing Burger Bar property, Bryson City Brewing features craft ales and culinary treats. File photo Taking over the former Nantahala Brewing Burger Bar property, Bryson City Brewing features craft ales and culinary treats. File photo

It’s a sunny afternoon in downtown Bryson City. The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad is pulling into town with numerous locals and visitors alike spilling off the train. A stone’s throw from the tracks is Bryson City Brewing, its co-owner Stan Temple gazing happily at the scene unfolding before him. 

“You know, when I first came to this town, the local entrepreneurs didn’t really work together,” Temple said. “And what excites me now? We’re all becoming friends and working towards combining our resources into opportunities for our community.”

Temple has called Bryson City and greater Western North Carolina home for the last 22 years. A longtime small business owner, one who has specialized in tourism and hospitality for decades, Temple took over the former Nantahala Brewing Burger Bar property on Deep Creek Road and transformed it into Bryson City Brewing.

“The owner [of Nantahala Brewing] wanted to retire, so then I teamed up with a local investor,” Temple said of Bryson City native and storied businessman Mark Fortner. “I didn’t want any outside investors. They don’t understand the dynamics of how to work in the mountains. I thought [Mark] was a good match — and it’s been a good match.”

With its onsite brewery operations aimed at once again coming online this summer (and with storied local brewer John Stuart at the helm), Bryson City Brewing has quickly become a bastion of culinary treats, libations and live music.

“It’s about seeing people come here and be thankful for this place,” Temple said of the gratitude he feels for all the blood, sweat and tears put into running an independent business.

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A former RC Cola plant, the historic building that houses Bryson City Brewing is a testament to economic growth and development within the rural depths of Appalachia.

“We’re not going anywhere. This is for the long haul — this is our home,” Temple said of his love for the community. “And the people who come here? They really appreciate [Bryson City]. We have this singularity here.”

Originally from Odessa, Texas, Temple bounced around the world, whether it was simply seeing what was just beyond the horizon or his intent and aspirations or merely to wander and soak up the essence of life. Coast-to-coast, overseas and anywhere in between.

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Stan Temple. File photo

“There’s a real beauty about living in these mountains,” Temple said of relocating to Western North Carolina following his world travels. “When you’ve been fulfilled with society, you can go up in the mountains and just be by yourself. You can feed that other side of yourself, so then when you come back down, you’re even more enthusiastic about reconnecting with people, their ideas and their stories.”

Throughout his early years, Temple would often visit Western North Carolina and other corners of Southern Appalachia. He would slowly put down genuine roots into this region with each trip, until finally calling these mountains home later in life.

“This is an exotic, beautiful area and I love living in exotic habitats,” Temple noted. “Living here is similar to where I was living in Hawai’i. We are in a jungle here [in Southern Appalachia].”

Beyond those sauntering over to Bryson City Brewing from the train or from the bustling Everett Street a few blocks away, the property itself has become a beehive of families, friends and those soon-to-become fast friends over a beverage or meal. It’s an image of coming together, whether those known or unknown, which, ultimately, lends itself to human connectivity in the chaos of the digital age.

“This is a family-oriented facility,” Temple said. “And it’s so rewarding when we’re able to entertain people from all over the world who come to enjoy our backyard.”

As the warm sunshine slowly fades behind the ancient mountains. Temple is readying himself for the next rush of people, places and things that’ll once again come alive tomorrow. For him, it’s this deep sense of purpose and passion that fuels this current endeavor, this same attitude at the heart of Bryson City.

“Being able to do what needs to be done and not just ‘doing what you have to do because that’s what you do,’” Temple said. “We’re not in a big rush. We don’t want to push it. We just will feed it, stimulate it and let it grow organically — that’s what I love most about this business and this town.”

Want to go?

With handcrafted ales soon to hit the taps, Bryson City Brewing is located at 234 Deep Creek Road in Bryson City.

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The property also boasts a restaurant, backyard activity area and hosts live music regularly. Hours are noon to 10 p.m. (food until 9 p.m.) Monday through Thursday and noon to 11 p.m. (food until 10 p.m.) Friday through Sunday.

For more information, call 828.538.0085 or go to brysoncitybrewing.com.

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