Success Stories

Brewing up a New Career

Chris Gallagher

Chris Gallagher

Class of 2022

Favorite Aspect of Wake Tech
The practical application of the knowledge, insights and skills.
Career Goals
Business Owner

"It's the heart and the art that come from the brewer."

    — Chris Gallagher

A few years ago, Chris Gallagher was ready to do something he had always wanted to do: Go into business for himself.

"My wife and I started thinking, 'What are we passionate about?'" He says it came down to two things: their love for travel and craft beer. So, the couple decided to marry the two ideas. "We decided we'd like to open a craft brewery inspired by ingredients, flavors, techniques and styles from around the world."

As a former international business development consultant, Gallagher said he felt confident about the business part. But he knew he lacked the necessary expertise about the brewing process. When he discovered Wake Tech's Commercial Craft Brewing program, he wasted no time enrolling. The 16-week certification program is taught in the classroom at the Scott Northern Wake Campus and hands-on at nearby Heyday Brewing. It's the perfect option for those already working in the industry, those who, like Gallagher, want to open a brewery, and home brewers wanting to learn more.

"Our students go beyond learning how water, malt, hops and yeast combine to make beer. We explore the commercial brewing process from grain to glass but also the trends and challenges breweries face as businesses," says program instructor Clay Fussell. "Our partners, such as Heyday Brewing, offer the unique opportunity for hands-on experience in a commercial brewing facility."

"I loved learning in an actual brewery," Gallagher says. "Clay took us through all the steps and explained the science behind brewing – chemicals, temperature and pH levels." After completing the course, he said he was much better prepared to hire a brewer, purchase equipment and launch his own enterprise, Local Time Brewing.

True to his two passions, he hired an experienced brewer to develop globally inspired beers: Tasman Hazy NZIPA (New Zealand), Alpenweisse Wheat Ale (Switzerland) and Kingston Tropical Stout (Jamaica) to name a few. Two of Local Time's beers have recently been awarded medals by the North Carolina Craft Brewers Guild. Schonbrunn Vienna Lager (Austria) won a silver, and the Phuket Sunset Rice Lager (Thailand) won the only gold medal in Wake County.

But what really makes a good beer, Gallagher says, is the brewer: "It all has to do with the passion of the person creating it – it's the heart and the art that come from the brewer."

Local Time Brewing is now a popular craft brewery and taproom in the heart of Holly Springs, with local distribution on the near-term horizon. The beer is brewed behind a glass wall for all to view, and the taproom up front is designed to welcome customers and foster a sense of community. The brewery's name is a nod to traveling the world and crossing time zones – after all, as the saying goes, "It's 5 o'clock somewhere." Local Time lets customers explore the tastes of exotic locales and experience a world of flavors from right here in central North Carolina.

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