[caption id="attachment_23382" align="aligncenter" width="600"]<img src="https:\/\/pocahontastimes.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/25\/2019\/01\/DSC_0063.jpg" alt="" width="600" height="421" class="size-full wp-image-23382" \/> Photo by Suzanne Stewart<br \/>Old Spruce Brewing, located behind Snow Creek at the entrance to Silver Creek, will open this spring and will act as a brewery and hangout spot on the mountain.[\/caption]\r\n\r\nSuzanne\u00a0Stewart\r\nStaff\u00a0Writer\r\n\r\nWhen Lawrence Walkup came to Snowshoe Mountain Resort as Food and Beverage Director 15 years ago, he didn\u2019t necessarily intend to open his own brewery, but this spring, he will unveil his new business at Snowshoe \u2013 Old Spruce Brewing.\r\n\r\nWalkup\u2019s business ventures began with the Old Spruce Cafe and Tavern, a small restaurant in the Village, which was followed by the Old Spruce Draft House.\r\n\r\nAfter opening the draft house and gaining more knowledge about breweries and small batch beers, Walkup decided he wanted to open his own brewery which will mainly supply his two businesses on the mountain.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe\u2019ll be producing about eight thousand barrels a year,\u201d he said. \u201cIt\u2019s really not that big. I don\u2019t really ever plan to get big. My plan is to open up here and distribute here and my two places in the Village.\u201d\r\n\r\nThe brewery will produce kegs and crowlers, the popular 32 ounce cans for those with a big thirst.\r\n\r\nDespite a total of 27 years in the food and beverage field, Walkup is the first to admit he is not a professional brewer \u2013\u00a0he\u2019s leaving that part of the job up to the professionals.\r\n\r\n\u201cI\u2019m not a brewer,\u201d he said. \u201cI\u2019ve brewed a little, but I\u2019m not a brewer. I have a brewer that will be working for me that has been brewing for about fifteen years.\u201d\r\n\r\nThe brewer will be joined by employees who will all be certified cicerones\u00a0\u2013 think sommelier, but for beer.\r\n\r\n\u201cThat\u2019s one of my concerns for here, not just getting employees, but getting the right employees,\u201d Walkup said. \u201cSome things I\u2019m strict about. Because it\u2019s a beer-based business \u2013\u00a0there\u2019s a cicerone certification. I\u2019m making all my employees that will be serving beer get their cicerone. It\u2019s a lot easier to sell it if you know what it is.\u201d\r\n\r\nWhile the brewery and its output will be small, the facility is quite large. Walkup wanted a large, open space which will not only serve as a brewery, but a gathering place for beer enthusiasts.\r\n\r\n[caption id="attachment_23381" align="aligncenter" width="600"]<img src="https:\/\/pocahontastimes.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/25\/2019\/01\/DSC_0059.jpg" alt="" width="600" height="438" class="size-full wp-image-23381" \/> Photos by Suzanne Stewart<br \/>The brewery will produce approximately 8,000 barrels of beer which will be sold in kegs and crowlers at owner Lawrence Walk-up\u2019s other businesses \u2013\u2002Old Spruce Cafe and Tavern and Old Spruce Draft House \u2013 at Snowshoe Mountain Resort Village.[\/caption]\r\n\r\n<img src="https:\/\/pocahontastimes.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/25\/2019\/01\/DSC_0058.jpg" alt="" width="400" height="418" class="alignleft size-full wp-image-23380" \/>\r\n\r\nThe two-story building will house a tasting bar, sitting areas, a small kitchen and several old school games.\r\n\r\n\u201cThis will be more like an entertainment area,\u201d Walkup said of the second floor. I\u2019d like to have duck pin bowling, old games like skeeball. What we\u2019ll probably do is set up two or three cornhole lanes and then have tables \u2013\u00a0a little hangout spot.\u201d\r\n\r\nSticking with the classic theme, the interior will have a rustic feel, with antique windows and doors, as well as wood paneling to cover as much of the metal facade as possible.\r\n\r\nThe front of the building has large glass garage doors which not only provide a lot of natural light, but will also be open during the summer to give the place an open air feel. There\u2019s also a replica fire tower to enhance the view.\r\n\r\n\u201cThere will be a deck all the way round the front,\u201d Walkup said. \u201cThere\u2019s going to be a little fire tower on the front, so I\u2019m hoping you\u2019ll be able to go to the top of it, and you\u2019ll be able to see the valley and the sunset.\u201d\r\n\r\nSmall, privately owned breweries are becoming a large trend and Walkup has prepared himself for the ebb and flow of the trend. He said that while there are a lot of breweries going out of business, the majority are succeeding, and he plans to be in the latter category.\r\n\r\n\u201cI think right now, craft breweries are about twelve percent of beer sales and it used to be about five,\u201d he said. \u201cThere is a demand. In the state of West Virginia, we have twenty-five breweries. The state of Virginia \u2013 they have 250. Right now the breweries that are succeeding are the really little ones and the big ones. The ones that are in between, the market is not enough there to keep them going. My plan is to sell the majority of [my beer] out of here.\u201d\r\n\r\nLocated behind Snow Creek at the entrance to Silver Creek Resort is ideal for getting visitors into the brewery. It doesn\u2019t hurt that the shuttle bus will go right by the facility during its regular run.\r\n\r\n\u201cI will be on the bus trail from Snowshoe to Silver Creek,\u201d Walkup said. \u201cSo the shuttles will come down through there and have a stop here, drop people off, go to Silver Creek and back, so it will be a constant loop with a stop at the brewery.\u201d\r\n\r\nConstruction on the brewery continues, and Walkup is ready for its opening this spring and for it to become a success.\r\n\r\n\u201cI feel like I need to give it room to become what it wants to become instead of forcing it to be something,\u201d he said. \u201cIt\u2019s going to become what it wants to, like my restaurant in the Village. It\u2019s close to what I started with, but it\u2019s changed quite a bit, as well.\r\n\r\n\u201cThis is sort of my retirement plan,\u201d he continued. \u201cGet it up, get it running, get a good staff. My goal eventually would be to sell it to the brewer and my staff. I\u2019d love for my staff to take over.\u201d\r\n\r\nWalkup doesn\u2019t have an exact date for the grand opening but does post updates on the Old Spruce Brewing Facebook page.\r\n\r\nIn the meantime, visitors can go to the Village and enjoy the Old Spruce Cafe and Tavern, open seven days a week, 11 a.m. to 12 a.m. and the Old Spruce Draft House, Friday, 4 p.m. to 12 a.m. and Saturday and Sunday, 1 p.m. to 12 a.m.