Their story involves growing up in the Midwest, brewing in the backyard, basic training, jumping out of airplanes, and today running a thriving brewery in Southern Pines. Micah Niebauer and Jason Ginos are the co-founders of Southern Pines Brewing Company and they have a passion for brewing beer.
Micah and Jason are also veterans, each having served in the Airborne Special Forces. With the military still in their blood, these two entrepreneurs chose to put down their own roots in Moore County “because of the vibrant business community, great quality of life, and phenomenal people,” Niebauer says. “The area is truly is unique, and it is largely because of the diverse group of people who have a high degree of social and human capital. Whether it is a golf pro, medical professional, special operations personnel, or someone into equestrian sports, the people who call Moore County home are exceptional at what they do and value the close-knit, community atmosphere that exists here.”
That is a primary reason why Micah and Jason chose “Rooted in the Community” as the slogan for their brewery.
“We decided on that because we truly felt that the community aspect in Moore County was its most precious resource, and we wanted to do our part to enhance it,” says Niebauer. “We both chose to live in Southern Pines and Moore County for the incredible quality of life and because it is a great place to raise a family. The sense of community in the Sandhills is unique, and we both chose to settle here and make this home after military service.”
The men came from different parts of the Midwest, but both came to North Carolina while stationed at Fort Bragg.
Niebauer, originally from Superior, Wisconsin, graduated from Wheaton College in Illinois in 2003 with a degree in Political Science. He worked at both the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Commerce prior to joining the Army as an Infantry Officer in the 82d Airborne Division. He later joined Special Forces and served in 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne).
Ginos, originally from Hillsboro, Illinois, completed two years at Millikin University in Illinois before enlisting in the Army as a Psychological Operations Specialist in 2003. He later joined Special Forces and was assigned as a Special Forces Engineer Sergeant to 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne).
Both Niebauer and Ginos completed multiple overseas tours in support of the Global War on Terror, and both separated from the Army in June 2014.
Niebauer went on to complete the Siebel Institute of Technology’s Concise Course in Brewing Technology, the Essential Quality Control Course at White Labs in San Diego. He, along with a third original partner, John Brumer, who is no longer with the operation, lived in an RV in White Lab’s parking lot while learning the chemistry of brewing from giants in the industry. Today Niebauer is the CEO of the Southern Pines Brewing Company, and he and his wife Patricia who is a local attorney live in Southern Pines with their 3 children, Eva (8), Claudia (5), and Wyatt (2).
Ginos, the company’s CFO, and his wife Aleah also live in Southern Pines and have 3 children, Tanner (7), Luke (5), and Charlotte (1). Aleah serves as a Master Sergeant (Promotable) in Military Information Support Operations at Fort Bragg.
Southern Pines Brewing Company produced its first batch of beer on June 23, 2014. The official grand opening of the company’s 6,500 square-foot facility was Oct. 18, 2014, and the business continues to grow.
“We just went through a major equipment expansion in 2017,” Niebauer says. “We added a new canning line, four new tanks and an additional vessel on our brewhouse that will allow us to make a lot more beer. We were also excited to partner with a fellow veteran Craig Morrison, the owner of local Valhalla Tattoo (in Southern Pines), to do the artwork on completely rebranded cans.”
All of these improvements have been in preparation for expanding distribution across North Carolina in 2018. “We are hoping to open up new markets as well as go deeper into markets we already service, like the Triad, Triangle, and Wilmington,” he says.
But it is here at home in Moore County where the heart and passion are.
“We have 10 beers on tap in our taproom where the public can come and try new beers we’re producing every week. Business has been phenomenal,” says Niebauer.
Spend some time inside Southern Pines Brewery’s taproom and you’ll see more than just the passion behind the process.