Duo Brings Pop-Up to New Brick-and-Mortar Brewery

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Photo by Dathan Kazsuk



For Whit Baker and Andy Schnitzer, it all started back in 2016 when the two of them, along with Jeremy and Jay Bond, opened Bond Brothers Beer Company in the heart of Cary. Two years later, the duo started up a side project titled Ancillary* Fermentation, which would release one new beer a month and unleash the beer around—at the time—popular pop-up parties in various Raleigh locations. 

These pop-up parties would typically be held in locations where people don’t drink beer, such as a church, auto repair shop or CrossFit gym. At the time, Baker and Schnitzer were okay with not finding a permanent location for the pop-up brewery concept. But then that dreaded five-letter virus took over the world in early 2020, and the brewery’s pop-ups were all canceled. The pandemic threw everything on the back burner for almost two years. Was Ancillary* Fermentation going to become a COVID casualty? 

Baker and Schnitzer weren’t going away quietly. Secretly, the two started looking for a location that fell in line with spots where they had previously hosted pop-ups. Eventually, they stumbled upon a former 1980s-era bank branch. (The Latino credit union previously there had relocated to a different part of town.) Baker and Schnitzer realized they might have found their brick-and-mortar location. 

Sure, this bank’s look and feel seemed outdated, but that held allure for Baker and Schnitzer. They even purchased more 1980s furniture from an office that was going out of business inside Northgate Mall in Durham to give the vibe more authenticity. They transformed the bank’s old vault into a beer cooler, turned executive offices into rooms for guests to hang out in, and reinvented the drive-through window to serve as a spot for people to close out their tabs while hanging outside. These changes made Ancillary* Fermentation the city’s first “Midtown” brewery.

Below are some excerpts from our interview with Baker and Schnitzer.

Ancillary Fermentation turned an old Latino Credit Union, and converted it into a new brewery. Photo by Dathan Kazsuk.

You are involved in Bond Brothers, Ancillary* Fermentation and your other brewery, Standard Beer + Food. How do you juggle all your time between these locations? 

Baker: I usually go from Bond, East Side (the brewery’s second taproom location in Cary), Ancillary, back to Bond and then home. Most days, I go where I’m needed and do what is required, but it is a juggling act, for sure. For example, this morning, I was fixing draft lines for some accounts and then doing deliveries for Standard, then here for this interview, and then I’ll be headed back to Bond Brothers for meetings later in the day. 


Schnitzer: Squeaky wheel gets the oil is how it goes for me. Whatever needs my attention the most is where I go. Just get it done. That is our motto, “Just do it.”


Let’s narrow that down and get into what is the most important thing you do weekly with Ancillary.

Baker: For me, it’s keeping the beer flowing. This is the hardest project to get beer at because we don’t have a brewery. It’s a contract scenario. So getting beer here is much more intense than with Standard or Bond. Even getting ingredients here can be obnoxious because with Ancillary, we do yeast blends, and I get yeast from multiple companies that go into our various house blends. It’s a crazy project, but I like it. 

Both of you work so hard to keep your businesses successful. How do you make time to spend with your family?


Schnitzer: I’m lucky because my kids are older and are going to college next year, so they don’t really want to spend time with me. They’ve got their things like work, sports and band. I’m older than Whit, so I can’t really imagine doing all this when I was his age.


Baker: Every place has a very solid team. Yesterday, I stayed home all day and worked remotely because the young one had a fever, and stuff still got done because of our team. It’s just a juggling of family life plus work life. 


Whit, you do a ton of collaborations with Bond and Ancillary. Talk about the benefits of doing a collaboration beer with other breweries. 

Baker: Collaborations are a cross-promotional thing. The specifics of each collaboration are all different. For me, there is always a transfer of information. Since Ancillary opened our taproom, we’ve done collabs with Edit Beer Co., Funguys [Brewing] and Lynnwood Brewing Concern—and we have more lined up. 


So you have this “Midtown” vibe going with these collaborations. Or close to Midtown Raleigh, correct?

Baker: We are in a very underserved area as far as breweries go. We are in Midtown proper. Sneaky Penguin [Brewing Company] is too far north to be in Midtown, and even Edit Beer Co., off Atlantic Avenue, is not considered Midtown. This whole mixed-use area will all be developed in a couple of years. And being the first brewery outside of the Beltline and in Midtown is important. 

Grab some fermented treats while visiting the brewery. Photo by Dathan Kazsuk.

Many more breweries are opening up satellite taprooms in different locations. Recently we had Wilmington’s New Anthem [Beer Project] open up in Smoky Hollow, and soon we’ll have Winston-Salem’s Incendiary [Brewing Company] opening up in the Bloc[83] development along Hillsborough Street by Dram & Draught. Is this becoming a new trend?

Baker: They are dipping their toes into it. There are a couple of pioneers in that area, such as Burial [Beer Co.] and Hi-Wire [Brewing], but the jury is out on whether it works for every brand. Places are looking for ways to expand. In a post-COVID environment, generally, beer growth is not volume, but rather, “How do you maximize your dollar?” So typically, more taprooms lead to more revenue. But we want to integrate into the community in a way that benefits us and the community. 


How is the beer scene in the Triangle coming along these days? We are still behind in places such as Asheville, Charlotte and, to some extent, even in areas such as Wilmington.

Baker: The most and best breweries in the state are in Charlotte at this point, right? Mecklenburg [County] beats us 
on breweries per capita, so there is definitely room for breweries to open here in the Triangle. 


One final question for a good quote—and I know the answer—but are Hazy IPAs ever going away?

Baker: No. That’s a boring quote. [Laughs.] Right now, there is a lot of innovation in what they are using to make the haze. If anything, it’ll be more divergent, and you’ll have more of a range of hazy IPAs. I’ve noticed that your average drinker asks for a hazy IPA, and I don’t want to say that they don’t care what it tastes like, but … they don’t care what it tastes like. There. There is my beer quote. 

Ancillary* Fermentation is located at 1420 Hardimont Road in Raleigh and is open six days a week. Learn more at ancillaryfermentation.com

Visit midtownmag.com for more stories from around the Triangle.

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