Former Boylan Brewpub owner becomes Raleigh's first barrel maker

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Boylan Bridge Brewpub, best known for its patio views of the downtown Raleigh skyline, will close this weekend and reopen in June under a new name and concept; its former owner, however, won't be far away.

Andrew Leager, who ran the brewpub for 10 years before selling to a pair of brothers from the west coast in Sept. 2018, will now be spending his days downstairs, in the basement warehouse, launching his passion project- Boylan Barrel Works.

"If it's a lost art, I wanna bring it back," said Leager of his new cooperage which he believes will be the only one in North Carolina.

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Andrew Leagerwill now be spending his days in the basement warehouse, launching his passion project- Boylan Barrel Works.

Leager, who took apart an old barrel he got from TOPO Distillery in Chapel Hill to learn how it's made, walked ABC11 through his entire coopering process.

Leager got his masters in architecture from N.C. State University and always had a dream of running a brewery, distillery, and barrel works under one roof.

That dream was drowned in 2016 when a restaurant sprinkler pipe burst, flooding his warehouse below.

Now, with the pub sold and no plans for retirement, Leager is close to perfecting the cooperage equipment he designed and built or modified himself.

"I'll be making the hoops, the heads, and the staves and that's all that goes into making a barrel," he said.

He's starting small, hoping to sell his first batch of barrels to a local distillery this summer.

His one-man operation, he hopes will one day ramp up to something of an impactful industry for downtown Raleigh.

"The city deserves to have a full spectrum of businesses in downtown," said Leager. "It's not just lawyers offices and not just condos, but a little bit of light industry. And this is light industry."

Boylan Bridge Brewpub will close for good on Sunday, May 19.

Raleigh's newest brewery and kitchen will reopen in its place.

Leager said after a day of tedious barrel making, he might have to go upstairs to grab a pint.
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