Ancillary Fermentation brewery unveils first banked taproom



Ancillary Fermentation in Raleigh will have plenty of outdoor seating and an area where a food truck can stop behind the old bank building.

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If you remember the thrill of getting a lollipop from the bank, you’re probably old enough for a beer by now.

In a nostalgic mashup worthy of “Stranger Things,” one of the best new breweries in the Triangle is about to open its first bar, transforming an old bank branch into a new bar.

Ancillary Fermentation, a beer brand that bets on performance art, is known for its juicy IPAs and canned theatrical releases. The project is led by Whit Baker and Andy Schnitzer of Bond Brothers, who also own and operate Standard Beer & Food in Raleigh.

“We hope to impress with good beer and weirdness,” Baker said.

Ancillary Fermentation is located in an old bank in Raleigh. Juli Leonard [email protected]

The Auxiliary Dining Hall opens at a longtime bank branch, most recently a Cooperativa Latino credit union, located at 1420 Hardimont Rd., just off Wake Forest Road north of Beltline. Baker expects the new bar to open this summer as permits are finalized.

“We wanted to make the impermanent thing more permanent and looked at structures from an old building that had a previous use,” Baker said.

Renowned brewery

Starting in 2018, Ancillary launched its first IPA with tallboy cans. From there, it moved around Raleigh, periodically announcing pop-ups in unexpected places. It was named one of the best breweries in the Triangle by national beer magazine Hop Culture and one of the top 10 new breweries in the country by a USA Today poll.

Pop-up taprooms have included the All Saints Chapel, another at a gym, where beers were poured into workout bottles, one at a bakery, and another as an epic house party with kegs that you would like to drink.

Building a bar in a former bank fits the theme, Baker said.

“We’ve always been interested in enabling places where you don’t normally drink,” Baker said. “We spent a lot of money to make it still look like a bank branch. We wanted to keep the heritage of the building while making it a bar.

Ancillary Fermentation’s bar is the former bank of Raleigh’s old bank teller. Juli Leonard [email protected]

Schnitzer said a possible bar was still part of the plan.

“We were always going to do a taproom,” Schnitzer said. “The first pop-ups were all great, but there are only a limited number of places to spawn.”

The pandemic has put auxiliary fermentation on hold overall, making can outings and pop-up taprooms impossible. The brand continued to brew beer, selling it to bottle shops instead.

Ancillary Fermentation is located in an old bank in Raleigh. Juli Leonard [email protected]

Brand reintroduction

With the taproom, it’s sort of a reintroduction of the brand.

“The project is essentially the same, it was kind of an impermanent pop-up,” Baker said. “Now it will be different in that we are going to have a tapas room and all that.”

In the bar itself, it looks like a local bank on a weekday afternoon. Lending desks are intact, furniture is arranged around low tables. Outside, more than a dozen picnic tables surround the building. But the beer list is integrated into a table of rates interest, listing what is on tap, who does it, its alcohol content and the going rate. The wide counter is the main bar and the bank vault has been converted into a beer cooler.

“It’s just like they show it in a heist movie,” Baker said of the safe’s repurpose. “They take a big drill and drill into the door.”

Ancillary Fermentation has done a minimal renovation in the old bank in Raleigh and has a quirky setup of an office and conference room that guests can also use. Juli Leonard [email protected]

Ancillary’s beer continues to be brewed at Cary’s Fortnight Brewing, but the one-day plan is for the brand to eventually have its own production space, Baker said.

Baker suggested that more ancillary bathrooms may be in the works for the Triangle in the future.

“We’re going to keep the roots of the buildings,” Baker said. “We take these unused buildings and turn them into places for the community. We hear crazy numbers of people ready to drink there.

Ancillary Fermentation is located in an old bank in Raleigh. Juli Leonard [email protected]

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Drew Jackson writes about restaurants and dining for The News & Observer and The Herald-Sun, covering the Triangle and North Carolina food scene.

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