Located in Southend Charlotte, Lenny Boy Brewing Company offers a unique experience and wide array of products for its customers. While in college at the University of North Carolina in Wilmington, Townes Mozer learned how to ferment various beverages, a talent that would one day come to serve him well at Lenny Boy. However, it wasn’t beer that initially was the driving force and passion behind his company, but another, non-alcoholic, drink called kombucha. “In 2009, I took a trip to Oregon and tried kombucha for the first time. From then on I was obsessed with the drink and learning how to make it myself,” Townes said, “not only does it have a great taste, being flavored with ingredients from surrounding farmers markets, but it also has a bold but soft texture that is both refreshing and nutritious.”
Before Townes officially opened the brewery in 2011, he worked at Mountain Harvest Organics in Hot Springs for 10 months to learn about the farming process and immerse himself in that experience. “I learned a lot from working on a farm that has honestly helped further my business here at the brewery,” he said, “not only did it further establish my business plan, but it also gave me a passion for sourcing local ingredients anywhere I can.” On December 20, 2011, Townes sold his first bottle of kombucha and the story of Lenny Boy Brewing Company began.
So, you may be wondering what exactly is kombucha? According to Townes, it is a fermented tea full of probiotics, vitamin B and amino acids. “It almost tastes like an apple cider vinegar but less harsh on the palette,” he said. Kombucha is non-alcoholic and naturally gluten free, making it an easy sell for individuals with an intolerance to gluten or celiac disease. Lenny Boy makes a variety of flavors to appeal to all customers, including lavender, ginger, strawberry, rose and, Townes’ personal favorite, Wake-Up Call. “Wake-Up Call is a green tea infused with blueberries and yerba matéé,” he said, “it’s my replacement for coffee in the morning and it really gets me going!”
The process of making kombucha has always been intriguing for Townes because he can see the magic working before his eyes. “I love the process of making kombucha because you can literally watch each step and how it affects the end product,” he said, “first we take the raw ingredients and add in the kombucha culture, which is a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast, and let it ferment for 30 days. Once the fermentation is complete, we flavor it with all our signature flavors and either bottle or keg it for our customers.”
In 2013, Townes and his team started experimenting with alcoholic beverages, including hard kombucha, sours and ales. “When our head brewer, John, came on board things really took off,” Townes said. “When it comes to making the hard kombucha, nothing really had to change with our process other than adding more yeast strands to generate the alcohol. From there, John really helped us in the development of our beer products.” Today, Lenny Boy provides many beers, sours and ales for interested customers, including a Czech Please Pilsner and Citraphilia IPA. All products from Lenny Boy Brewing Company can be found at Harris Teeter, Whole Foods in the Southeast and select Food Lions. In total, products from the company are sold in over 800 retail locations, including mom-and-pop shops and restaurants across the state.
A typical day in Townes’ life at the brewery changed dramatically in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “Pre-COVID I was mostly in management,” he said, “however with the onset of the virus we had to scale down our operations, which meant that I got to do more on the production side and work with our brewers. We all try to be swiss army knives around here, meaning that we are able to do each part of the process when necessary or needed, and the importance of that was proven all of last year.” Although expansion and growth can sometimes be a challenge, Townes loves every aspect of what he does and takes pride in seeing the customers enjoy his products. “Watching people try our products and seeing their eyes light up as they find a new favorite is worth every struggle we face in the process,” he said.
When visiting the brewery, customers can relax in the large taproom and enjoy a nice beverage of their choosing. “Customers can expect a homey and earthy vibe when they visit our operation,” said Townes, “all of our tables are made from N.C. hemlock, we have a small kitchen where food can be enjoyed and, of course, 29 beverages on tap that can be purchased in flights, pints, growlers, bottles and more.” If enjoying a locally made drink wasn’t enough motivation to visit Lenny Boy Brewing Company, they also host a variety of events for customers to enjoy throughout the year, including comedy shows, concerts, weekend markets and more! In fact, they will be opening a brand new 400 person event center this fall that will allow for an indoor space to host large events.
Another unique aspect of the company is what Townes and his team call the plant room. “The plant room is just another extension of who we are and what we enjoy,” Townes said, “we already have about 50 to 60 plants in the taproom alone, but the plant room is home to a variety of house plants that can be enjoyed by our customers upon visiting the facility.” So grab a drink and enjoy the tropical atmosphere of the plant room, full of flowers, soil, fertilizer, ceramics and more!
In the future, Townes will continue to expand the Lenny Boy kombucha footprint in retail locations across the state and beyond. He will also further expand experiential ideas for his customers, especially with the opening of their new event center. Most importantly, he will continue to provide local products that customers love and enjoy through the company and participating retail outlets. “We are very proud of this place and all that it has grown to be since the start,” Townes said, “and I look forward to seeing where the future takes us as we continue to showcase our passions in the bottles and experiences we create.”