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Originally published: 2013-12-03 20:41:34
Last modified: 2013-12-03 20:42:19

App Mountain Brewery to become public company

by Anna Oakes

Boone's only operating brewery, Appalachian Mountain Brewery, announced Tuesday that it will acquire North Carolina Natural Energy Inc. and begin public trading as a craft brewery.

"This is a strategic move by AMB to prepare for growth in Boone and further our distribution outside of our town," owner Sean Spiegelman said via the brewery's website and Facebook page. "We are really looking forward to furthering our community, philanthropy and economic stewardship and footprint."

Spiegelman will be appointed CEO of the new company, Appalachian Mountain Brewery Inc. Closing of the acquisition is expected by the end of the year, according to a statement. Spiegelman said the brewery's shares will be traded in the over-the-counter market.

Appalachian Mountain Brewery leaders say community and environmental sustainability is a core part of their business, which opened a brewery and tasting room on Boone Creek Drive in February of this year. The brewery utilizes American-made brewing equipment, offsets electricity usage with a 5kW solar array, donates spent grain to local farms and donates a portion of proceeds to local nonprofits.

North Carolina Natural Energy is a Florida corporation with headquarters in Lawndale, N.C. NCNE, formerly called Remodel Auction Inc., formed in 1990 and is a development stage company in the business of managing alternative renewable energy solutions including biofuel, wind energy and innovative green products for agriculture and livestock.

"(Appalachian Mountain Brewery is) going to pursue more clean energy venues in the future that are associated with the manufacture and distribution of beer -- that was a small but important part of the connection between North Carolina Natural Energy and the brewery," said Clinton Walker, currently CEO of NCNE.

Walker, a 1990 graduate of Appalachian State University, will be a shareholder in the new company.

"This is an amazing opportunity for me because of that -- I love Boone," Walker said.

The acquisition announcement stated that NCNE provides the new company with a wholesale liquor, beer and wine license from the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, access to public markets and a sophisticated shareholder group.

Walker said he applied for the license in anticipation of the merger with Appalachian Mountain Brewery.

Among NCNE's shareholders is Chanticleer Holdings Inc., which is a minority shareholder in the Hooters restaurant chain brand and owner of several other restaurants. Chanticleer Holdings will be a minority shareowner in the new Appalachian Mountain Brewery Inc.

Chanticleer Holdings CEO Mike Pruitt owns a home at Grandfather Golf & Country Club and said he was impressed with what he learned about Appalachian Mountain Brewery. Pruitt said he looked forward to introducing the brewery to potential new customers and that once the brewery expands he would "reach out to the appropriate people" to help facilitate AMB beer sales at Hooters restaurants.

Spiegelman said more information about the acquisition and sales of shares would be available after the deal closes later this year.