Beer in a bank? That’s what we call a great financial plan! Charlotte 49erAlumnus Kiel Arrington ’08 and Chuck Kistler ’06 turned an old bank into a bustling new brewery called Vaulted Oak. Along with their two business partners David Carey and Johnie Jones these four have done a fantastic job in offering a mint venue with delicious brews. We stopped by their brewery to ask a few questions about their journey as entrepreneurs and how Charlotte has made an impact on that.
Kiel and Chuck originally met through their Fraternity at Charlotte. From there the two found themselves having a great relationship that continued after graduation and throughout much of their lives. Post-graduation Kiel was working and drinking his way through Charlotte’s local craft beer scene, which we know is vast. Working in this industry sparked a goal of Kiel’s and that was to open his very own brewery. Along the way Arrington ended up meeting their two future business partners, David and Johnie. Eventually, pieces of the puzzle began falling into place and a neat idea came to fruition.
That idea was turning a bank into a brewery! Come to find out Vaulted Oak was a story of agility and flexibility and the idea spun off an original business plan that was put together a few years prior. When we asked, Kiel and Chuck had this to say.
“Well, the building kind of fell in our laps. I had a concept before Vaulted Oak that was a more rustic and agriculture themed. When our realtor came to me and talked about who had recently purchased the building and what they were looking to do, we knew we had to jump on the opportunity. I tweaked the business plan, spent a few weeks really trying to put a genuine brand together that would tie in the building's past and the community, and presented it to investors and potential partners, and here we are.”
-Kiel Arrington '08
Vaulted Oak was born. “Vaulted,” bank. “Oak,” the neighborhood of Oakhurst. A simple tweak to the business plan and a booming brewery was born. Being flexible and agile is something that Vaulted Oak Brewery does very well. Serving a revolving menu of high quality and delicious beers in a beautiful bank allows patrons to visit a venue that embraces Charlotte’s mint history and a menu that is ever changing… like Charlotte.
Vaulted Oak’s initial goal is to offer 50 different beers that consists of small batches in their first calendar year which will let them show off their creativity and passion for brewing. As they discover what beers taste the best and are favored the most, Vaulted Oak plans to gravitate towards a more consistent menu to ensure customers can get their favorites every time they return. Currently, Vaulted Oak holds about 5-6 of their own beers and collaborations on tap. The Brewery is young and agile so visitors can expect to have a constant stream of fresh new brews that taste great.
With numerous beers available Chuck said, “Choosing my favorite would be like picking which dog I like more! I am partial to all the beers that get launched in the ‘No Roads Series.’” The “No Roads Series” is a series of brews that benefit the Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. The proceeds of these beers are donated to TeamFox which allows you to not only have a fantastic beer but make the world a little bit better #goteamfox!
Kiel on the other hand knows his go to brew. The C-Note$ IPA is a highly demanded and popular Hybrid IPA. The guys at Vaulted Oak find themselves brewing the C-Note$ IPA a lot because customers enjoy the bitter and piney West Coast IPA taste that also has tropical and fruity flavors like most East Coast IPAs. To Kiel it is the best of both worlds and easily identifiable with every sip! Trust us, he’s not lying.
Both Chuck and Kiel are eternally grateful for Charlotte bringing them together. Chuck says Charlotte prepared him in two ways for his entrepreneurial journey. Being a Forty-Niner taught Chuck that thinking for himself and taking risks it is truly okay to do. Without risks there would be no entrepreneurs or innovations towards the things we use and value every day. Chuck feels that while a student on campus, UNC Charlotte balanced free-will and collaboration for students well. Kiel felt that Charlotte prepared and provided him with the business acumen he needed. He obviously learned the SWOT analysis and how to write business plans that made his dreams accessible. However, Kiel mentioned most of his learning was done outside the classroom. Learning how to network and how to identify with anyone are skills business leaders need and Charlotte gave him the intangible resources needed to find success in a passion of his. Now collaborating and innovating with Kiel, David and Johnie goes smoothly and they believe Charlotte helped foster these ideals. It’s easy to see how great these guys work together. Seriously, just try their beers.
We asked Chuck what he wants the Charlotte 49er Community to know about him. His words were,
“What I want Charlotte to know about me, is that I bleed green and gold. I hold my pick high and am proud to be a Charlotte Alumnus. I also think it is vital to give back. Vaulted Oak embodies this in our support for the Michael J Fox Foundation!”
-Chuck Kistler '06
We asked Kiel what he wanted to Charlotte 49er Community to know about him. He wrote,
“I would like the Charlotte community to know that we are here because of them and we want to help those within the Charlotte community grow to their potential and beyond. The Brewing Industry has always been inclusive and had a "pay it forward" attitude. We were lucky to get a few helping hands and advice along the way and I feel we have a duty to do the same, no matter the industry.”
-Kiel Arrington '08
As you can see these Alum embody the attributes of a Forty-Niner, hard work, dedication, commitment and a philanthropic spirit. They work hard at making great beer and the success shows! We can only tell you how great their brews are, so head over to Vaulted Oak and get a taste of the liquid gold that is brewing!
If you’d like to know more about what is going on at Vaulted Oak, follow them on Instagram or head to their website.
Do good things, Roll Niners!