Find a good roadside overlook anywhere in Western North Carolina, and you’ll see one breathtaking set of peaks behind the other. Very often, you can’t tell where the mountain layers end and the skyline begins.
Views like that are just one of the inspirations behind the name of Swain County’s newest brewery.
“I was reading ‘Our Southern Highlanders’ by Horace Kephart, and I was really struck by how there is so much to the culture here,” said Kim Pettit, who – along with her husband Mark – will hold a grand opening for Mountain Layers Brewing Company on May 20. “There are so many different layers to the people, so many layers to the history.
“Once we started thinking about that name, it started to mean so much more,” she added. “We love the layers of the mountain views around here. And when it comes to brewing beer, there are so many layers when you consider the undertones, flavors and ingredients.”
The analogy also extends to the various layers of preparation that went into launching the new brewery: understanding the brewing process, developing a business plan, securing the necessary financing and even designing a new logo.
For help with all of those, the Pettits reached out to Southwestern Community College and Tiffany Henry – director of SCC’s Small Business Center.
The Pettits also took advantage of SCC’s craft brewing and bartending certification classes, and they even commissioned Southwestern’s advertising and graphic design students to create the Mountain Layers logo. Plus, they met with Henry on multiple occasions for confidential small business counseling.
“SCC’s fingerprints are all over this business,” Mark Pettit said while giving a tour of his brewery recently. “I can’t tell you how fortunate we were to find Tiffany. She helped us put together our business plan, she helped prepare us to get financing we needed, and she helped us connect with a network of people who were able to help us out.
“(Kim) and I think of Tiffany as a wonderful partner,” Mark continued. “She helped us in the buildout of our business.”
Likewise, the Pettit’s passion for building their business the right way impressed Henry.
“I’ve been working with Kim and Mark for two years leading up to the opening of their business, and they are doing everything the right way,” Henry said. “They are literally some of the most genuine and sweetest people you will ever meet. I have no doubt they are going to be successful.”
The brewery is located in the center of downtown Bryson City on historic Everett Street. The brewery is brimming with character featuring three seating areas. One of those is a rooftop deck overlooking downtown Bryson City, including a view of the historic courthouse across the river, the Tuckaseegee River and surrounding mountain ranges.
It also includes an “Honor and Remember” wall that features the American Flag, the five branches of the U.S. military and patches representing first responders of Swain County and across the country.
The wall has special significance for Mark Pettit, who is retired after spending 30 years in law enforcement in Minnesota.
“When you spend so much of your life in public service, you want to serve people – even after you retire,” Mark said. “The new business is a great way to engage and interact with people and serve our local community that has embraced us.”