Success Story
March 14, 2024

With EDA Support, a North Carolina Brewery Serves New Opportunities for the Community

Reidsville is a small North Carolina community about twenty miles from Greensboro. Known as “Lucky City,” the residents have a simple motto: ‘live simply, think big.’

Mystic Muse, the first local band to perform at the recently redesigned Lucky City Brewing.
Mystic Muse, the first local band to perform at the recently redesigned Lucky City Brewing.

Throughout the 20th Century, Reidsville was a company town. It was home to the Lucky Strike cigarette company, who operated a production facility that employed much of the community. By the 21st Century however, a cultural shift had taken place, as American attitudes toward smoking changed. The plant would eventually close, and hundreds of jobs went up in smoke.

Lucky City Brewing (LCB) was one of the first local businesses that stepped in to pour new life into the region. Rather than just a neighborhood brewpub, it is a more-than-500 member community-run brewing cooperative. It has been delivering premium craft beers, hard seltzers, and locally produced food in a relaxing environment since 2021.

As with many new startups, financing proved to be a challenge. The owners met with representatives from their local Economic Development District, the Piedmont Triad Regional Council (PTRC), recipients of a $1 million award from EDA’s Revolving Loan Fund (RLF)  program.

“We were eager to help establish this new business to serve as a jumping-off point for other local entrepreneurs,” said Garrett Dinkins, PTRC’s Economic Development Coordinator. “We’ve always had a good working relationship with Reidsville and Rockingham County, and we were confident that this business would help revitalize the community.”

City leaders knew this as well. In 2019, they sold the building to LCB for just $1. PTRC took it one step further, providing more than $280,000 in RLF funding, matched by EDA and the Golden Leaf Foundation, an organization that provides grants to former tobacco communities in the Tar Heel state.

LCB’s Barrel Sponsorship program helps promote other local businesses while providing its customers with a variety of aged beers.
LCB’s Barrel Sponsorship program helps promote other local businesses while providing its customers with a variety of aged beers.

With funding in place, planning and construction soon began. Their efforts were stymied, however, by the onset of COVID-19, which had a significant economic impact on Reidsville. Co-op members began to wonder if it was last call for Lucky City Brewing.

“It was a very delicate situation for co-op members and the community, many of whom campaigned to save the brewery,” said Dinkins. “We offered to serve as moderator for these discussions and provided a common space for members to discuss next steps.”

Eventually, the executive board resigned and a new one was appointed. Their first order of business was to re-organize and get their finances in order.

“As part of the recovery, we have had to consider every expenditure, including the cost of management,” said Rob Scarborough, President. “Our diverse, all-volunteer board of directors currently runs most of the day-to-day operations at no cost to the co-op. And when I say diverse, I not only mean representative of our demographic, but diverse in skills and business experience.”

Co-op members went to work on enhancing the brewery’s ambience by softening the lighting and adding a performance stage for live, indoor performances. With the new amenities in place, LCB held a grand re-opening in 2023.

Live music became a regular feature thanks to board members Brad and Tammy Spencer, who have been bringing musical talent to the area for nearly a decade. Prior to the pandemic, the couple created an original live music series called Listening Loft, which featured musicians from throughout the region and across the United States. They hope to bring it to LCB in the near future.

Another new item on the menu is the Mango Sour.
Another new item on the menu is the Mango Sour.

“Lucky City Brewing has been very supportive of the program, which has previously allowed us to bring established bands from across the country to perform in other local businesses,” said Tammy Spencer. “We look forward to continuing this tradition in LCB’s recently completed live performance area, bringing musical talent back to the region.”

The board has found other ways to cut costs as well. They now offer barrel sponsorship with other local businesses, who cover all brewing expenses. After aging the beers to perfection, LCB splits the profits with the respective sponsor. According to Scarborough, it’s a win-win for the community.

Scarborough adds that plans are also underway to open an on-site kitchen and create additional jobs in the community. LCB currently collaborates with La Boca Loca, a local restaurant, to provide Cuban dishes to their patrons, including a variety of sandwiches and bowls.

For now, it’s the beer that brings them back. LCB offers a locally inspired beer selection, designed and brewed by a co-op member. After joining LCB in 2023, he designed their new beer menu, which includes Smooth Operator, an American Blonde Ale, Lucky City Lite, a lager, and Brush Mountain Brown Ale, a dark IPA.

“If there’s one thing I can point to regarding the success of our relaunch, it’s the quality of our new beers.”

Scarborough adds that they are currently working to expand their drink options as well. They recently applied for additional ABC permits to begin serving mixed beverages later this year. In the long run, they plan to add an onsite distillery and create their own spirits.

“This project is such a great use of public and private funds to create something special in our small, rural town. The community clearly wants this to succeed. Without the support we received through EDA’s Revolving Loan Fund program, this would have never been remotely possible.”

The establishment of Lucky City Brewing is supporting a broader revitalization of this former company town, creating local jobs and spurring economic development, one glass at a time.

To read more about how EDA is supporting small businesses through the Revolving Loan Fund program, please visit


  • Small Business Development/RLF