Waterline Brewing Company, Where Old Meets New


Erin Reitz


Erin Reitz

Though it’s located underneath the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge, there’s no secret password or troll denying you entrance into Wilmington’s new brewery. Waterline Brewing Company opened its doors in the old Jacobi Hardware warehouse in December 2015. It shares the building with The Art Factory, an art and antiques store and gallery, which offers additional character to the historical space. Despite its innocuous exterior, visitors will find an inviting atmosphere and true-to-style beers inside Waterline’s taproom.

Waterline co-founder and president Rob Robinson searched for a brewery space all across the Southeast before buying this building with his wife Eve and business partner Brian Bell. The three of them worked for more than a year with local contractors and artists to revitalize the building into a community-gathering place. “I’ve got space and wood from the 1940s. I mean, look around at this place. It’s gorgeous.” said Robinson. “This is 1940s hard pine, there’s reclaimed lumber from the 1800s in part of it. There’s just so much history in the building itself that the mixing of brewing craft beer, the location next to the river and under the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge, and then the size all came together perfectly.”

Though parts of the building’s 20,000 square feet sit unused now, Robinson and his team at Waterline have big hopes for the brewery’s future. “We’ve got plans to expand our taproom, distribution, and if things really work out we’ll have one of Wilmington’s first meaderies and cideries incorporated somewhere in this building someday,” Robinson said.

But for now, as Waterline’s first summer season approaches, he and Bell are keeping their focus on crafting quality brews and providing locals and tourists with a relaxing atmosphere — and the riverfront sunsets are no extra charge.