Pourworks opens big, sets sights for future
By Jen Primrose
The new bottle shop, PourWorks, just opened to the public on Saturday, March 11, with a plethora of wine, beer, food and entertainment to keep just about anyone satisfied. Triangle breweries such as Southern Pines Brewing Company, Fortnight Brewery and Gizmo Beer Works were pouring samples of beer through the night. Parked out front, the newly roaming Gonza Tacos y Tequila food truck was serving up Mexican goodies. And former NBC's The Voice contestant Nick Hagelin was performing inside.
The packed house of patrons enjoyed a mix of wine and beer at the bar, while the employees were working hard at keeping everyone satisfied. We were with our friends having a few beers and ciders outside around the fire pit, enjoying a few tacos. We caught Southern Pines' James Doom as he was taking his beer back to the car, just in time to try some samples of Southern Pines' latest release, Box-O Barleywine.
In the middle of all the fun and mayhem was PourWorks co-owner David Hartman. Knowing Hartman was going to be busy greeting guests and making new friends, we at Triangle Around Town decided to catch up with Hartman prior to the grand opening. Below are excerpts from our interview.
What was the most difficult part of getting PourWorks off the ground and open to the public?
Honestly, negotiating the lease was the most difficult. There are so many parties involved and the last time I signed a commercial lease was 25 years ago, and that was simply a sublease. The breakthrough came when we setup a conference call with the key shareholders. That was almost nine months after first contact.
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Tell us a little bit about your background and how you got involved in the world of wine.
I come from a wine background. I grew up in close proximity to the Livermore, California AVA, and had the luxury of having some of the greatest wineries in the world literally in my backyard. Over many years, I figured out what I liked in a winery. No matter how great your wines are, you have to be approachable. I'll never forget the day we stumbled across Opus One in Napa Valley. We drove in eager to taste, and were rather rudely told, 'Wine tasting is only offered to club members, and there is a wait list to join.' As a result of that, I will never, ever purchase a bottle of Opus One. I became attracted to highly personal venues, which led me far off the tracks of Highway 29 and the Silverado Trail. The more intimate a winery was, the more I became attracted. There is nothing quite like talking to the people that actually have their blood, sweat and tears in their products.
So you plan on having PourWorks as a place that's intimate, personable and approachable.
My advisor has helped with many local bottle shop startups. I personally have disliked most I've ventured into. Crammed wall-to-wall with products but no ambiance whatsoever, and no place you'd certainly want to spend on a sunny Saturday afternoon. Most reminded me of sneaking drinks in my friend's cheesy basement bar while their parents were out of town for the weekend.
Our first impression comes across as a spacious area with a warm atmosphere and not so dimly lit like some other shops.
The focus became making a venue that people want to linger, relax and hang-out. A Cheers sort of place if you will. We've designed the space around that concept, with a large bar, roomy seating areas and lots of outdoor seating.
We really liked the bar inside PourWorks. Was it designed locally?
Our bar is gorgeous and was designed by local artist Sean Kernick of Oak City Mural Company. That theme is integrated throughout the space, including an intimate leather seating area that's a perfect place to relax and chat with friends.
Many bottle shops today have employees who are Cicerones or in some cases Sommeliers. Is that something PourWorks will incorporate into the shop?
We have a Sommelier and a Cicerone as part of our extended staff, and are extremely connected to the N.C. brewery and wine scene. We'll have access to some of the best beer and wine products coming into N.C. We'll couple that with tasting seminars, tap takeovers with brewery personnel on hand to educate people. Tasting flights by region and variety are some of the things we'll be offering, as well as beer/wine/food pairings.
I heard that PourWorks will have a delivery service.
We plan on offering [a] delivery service. You can order online or via the phone and we'll send ice cold beer and wine to you. We plan on calling this service Brüber.
PourWorks is open Monday - Thursday, 1 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday, 1 p.m. to 12 a.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 12 a.m. and Sunday, 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.
PourWorks can be reached at (919) 977-3514.