Red Oak Brew Pub traces its heritage back to Franklin's off Friendly, Inc. which opened its first restaurant on April 27, 1979... on a dirt road in the Guilford College area of Greensboro. This neighborhood establishment offered the freshest produce, individually prepared and served in a casual elegant atmosphere. What began as a local gathering spot quickly evolved into a fine dining one featuring unique dishes. In addition Franklin's had a top 100 Wine Cellar stocked with over 8,000 bottles that won 6 Grand Awards from Wine Spectator Magazine.
In 1980 we built our first Bar and Grill on Spring Garden St. in Greensboro across from UNCG. It was a small old-time looking casual place, with a bar made from 100 year old heart pine. The popularity of this self-service bar with limited menu led us to build or remodel 5 more Bar and Grills...in Winston, Charlotte, and Chapel Hill over the next 8 years.
By the end of the 1980's, larger casual dining restaurants and steak houses were sweeping the nation. We explored converting Franklin's into one of these new concepts but decided to look into brew pubs. Having spent my senior year in high school in Switzerland and having developed a taste for Bavarian Style Lagers… it seemed a natural thing to do. After visiting approximately 100 brew-pubs and micro-breweries in the US and Europe we decided to move forward. Even though 97% of the brew pubs and micros in America make English style ales because they are easier and cheaper to brew; we wanted to make lagers, the most popular style throughout the world... even in England. Large American beer manufacturers don't make lagers the way we do…the way it should be, that is, according to the Rheinheitsgebot or 1516 Law of Purity. Under this Law only Malted Barley, Hops, Water and Yeast may be used to make Real Beer...No Rice, Corn, adjuncts, additives, or preservatives are allowed.
Not only were we intent on brewing lagers; we wanted to focus exclusively on the rich, mellow, Bavarian Lagers known throughout the world for their drinkability. So we visited brewing equipment fabricators here and in Germany before deciding on a system from Beraplan in Munich. Franklin's was remodeled, the new equipment installed and Red Oak Brew Pub was opened in February of 1991. In addition to brewing according to the Law of Purity, we decided not to filter or pasteurize our Bavarian Lagers to ensure for that rich flavor and mellow taste. Within months of opening the pub we began selling Red Oak to other accounts in the Greensboro area. In no time the 6 original aging tanks were maxed out so we added on to the building and installed 13 new tanks.
By 2001 Red Oaks popularity had grown so much that we were brewing 24/7...and out of aging capacity. We began the search for a location to build a larger brewery with space to accommodate future growth. After settling on a 12 acre tract along I 40/85 between Greensboro and Burlington in 2003...we began discussions with 3 Bavarian Brewery fabricators. ROLEC Prozess- und Brautechnik GmbH of Chieming, Bavaria was chosen to supply the new brewery; and in 2005 construction began on the building to house it. By the summer of 2007 Red Oak was ready to open the nation's most modern computerized brewing facility...consistently producing the Freshest, Purest, Bavarian Lagers in America.