Sneak Peek at the New Dingo Dog Taproom

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Dingo Dog Brewing
Owner Tim Schwarzauer designed the taproom’s bar top from old horse stalls.

The new Dingo Dog Brewing taproom at 410 N. Greensboro St. looks like any other. Four walls, a roof and 16 taps waiting to pour frothy, flavored brews.

But Dingo Dog’s first physical location is not like most breweries. It’s a testament to owner Tim Schwarzauer’s lifelong passion project – and the furry friend who inspired it: Dingo.

Though the St. Bernard mix passed away in March 2019 after a 20-plus-year life, his memory lives on at the only nonprofit brewery in the state – and one of few in the country.

“I really hate that he didn’t get to see the opening,” Tim says, “but he was pretty special.”

Dingo Dog earns its nonprofit status by funding grants to no-kill animal organizations in North Carolina – like the one where Tim adopted Dingo in his home state of Mississippi.

Dingo Dog Brewing
Plush, red velvet pews from a church in Mississippi line the left wall, which will also house a heart-shaped mural filled with photos of local pets.

The creation of Dingo Dog traces back to 2005, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The storm caused devastating natural and residential damage, and left hundreds of animals in Tim’s hometown of Jackson, Mississippi, homeless. Tim’s family responded to the crisis by founding the Animal Rescue Fund of Mississippi, which is now the largest no-kill animal shelter in the state.

Suzie, Dingo's best friend
“Dingo is the brewery, but Suzie [pictured] is the face of all of our ciders and wines,” Tim says. She’ll always be present to greet customers.

“Obviously, they’ve had an influence on me with what I’ve done here,” Tim says.

Tim’s journey to North Carolina began when he accepted a job as an associate contracting officer for the U.S. District Court in Greensboro in 2010. Tim experimented with home-brewing in his free time and eventually decided to pursue it as his profession alongside his friend Billy Gagon, now Dingo’s head brewer.

“I funded this whole thing myself,” Tim says. “People aren’t lining up to invest in a nonprofit brewery or trying to give away money. But I’m thankful for that. It gave me the opportunity to do what I wanted to do.” 

Tim works as a grant coordinator for the Town of Chapel Hill during the day, which supports his side hustle along with small business grants and public donations. Carrboro’s budding craft brew culture also nurtured his dream. Dingo Dog has operated its zero-waste production facility at PlowGirl Farm for more than five years. That worked out in the beginning, but Tim regularly wholesales to local bars and restaurants, like Beer Study and The Spotted Dog, and also as far away as Asheboro and Pinehurst, North Carolina.

“At wholesale prices at our size, there was no way for us to generate the kind of money we want to be able to donate to [local causes like Paws4ever and Beyond Fences],” Tim says. “We always knew from the start that we’re going to have to open a taproom. It was just a matter of trying to find a location that works for us.”

He entered into negotiations with mixed-used development Shelton Station three years ago, long before the building was under construction. It wasn’t until this February that Tim started working on the bar and designing the space.

Dingo Dog Brewing taproom
Jenny Marsh of Marsh Welding designed the sign out front, which also features lumber from PlowGirl Farm. “It incorporates a bit of our farmhouse brewery legacy into our new taproom space,” Tim says.

As he began work, he repurposed elements of the production facility at PlowGirl. Old horse stalls from the barn, where the beer is brewed, became the bar top. Most of the other furniture was provided by Tim’s brother, Chad, who owns an architectural salvage company back in Jackson. Decades-old church pews line one of the walls; the centerpiece of the space, a long table made of sinker pine, was raised from the bottom of a lake, where it sat for an entire century. Other tables are made from old flooring. 

Dingo Dog's Tim Schwarzauer
Tim holds a glass of the Buster Brown Ale brewed with ingredients found at the Chapel Hill Farmers Market.

The DIY list goes on, and on, and on.  

The rustic nature of the space reflects the style of the brews available, too. Tim sources from local farmers like Epiphany Craft Malt in Durham and says to expect more farm-inspired concoctions, like a tomato beer spiced with black pepper and celery seed – a la a michelada. There’s also its popular fall drink, the Buster Brown Ale, which counts fire-roasted butternut squash among its ingredients. It has the dark look of a heavy beer, but the sweet notes of a summer ale, with flavors like roasted pecan and honey. 

Most importantly, when the taproom does open (currently slated for early November), Tim says he hopes customers feel encouraged to bring their dogs. There will be plentiful dog beds and a dog beer on tap. Well, a dog-friendly broth from Imbibe, that is.

Dingo would approve.

Dingo Dog Brewing

Dingo Dog is currently trying to purchase almost three acres of land next to its original production facility. Tim hopes to turn the space into an orchard and event venue that will ultimately allow him to expand Dingo’s beer and cider production opportunities. Learn more/donate here.

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Hannah Lee

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