About two years ago, Andy Prascak asked his dad if he could be his business partner. Prascak, now 24, was living in Miami working as a golf pro. He enjoyed it. It was fun. But the enthusiasm he felt for the golf industry as a college student had started to wane. His father, Mike Prascak, a full-time Wells Fargo employee in his mid-50s, called one day from North Carolina and told Andy about his plan to start a brewery. That’s a good idea, Andy said. About two weeks later, he called his dad back and asked if he could join him. Today, sitting in the taproom of Lake Norman Brewing Company in Mooresville, about five minutes from the Prascaks’ home, Andy says the toughest part about the process has been patience.
“We wanted to get it done as soon as we could, but it wasn’t a major rush,” he says. “We wanted to do it really nice.”
The first thing the Prascaks did was create their brand. They wanted to focus on Lake Norman and the culture that surrounds lake living. They chose the name, Lake Norman Brewing Company, to get that idea across right up front. Mike came up with the logo, made up of the initials LKN and a pint glass. He also designed the brewery’s tap handle, shaped like an outboard motor with a propeller.
Next, they developed their core lineup of beers, which continues the lake theme: Outboard Amber Ale, Dockside Blonde Ale and Pontoon Pale Ale.
Overall, the general public prefers light beer, Andy says. But in the craft-beer market, India Pale Ale is the most popular style. It’s commonly referred to by its acronym, IPA, and known to have a strong hop flavor. The large variety of craft-beer styles can be overwhelming for someone who is unfamiliar with different beers. “People should know not to be intimidated,” Andy says. He hopes that Lake Norman Brewing will be able to introduce craft beer to those who have not experienced it. He sees the Dockside Blonde, a light-style ale, as a “gateway beer.”
Several places in Mooresville, such as J.J. Wasabi’s Grill & Bar, George Pappas’ Victory Lanes bowling alley and Sports Page Food & Spirits, have begun to carry beers from Lake Norman Brewing. The new taproom, which opened last month in an industrial part of town off of Mazeppa Road, will keep the core beers on tap and a rotation of seasonals and new releases. The taproom has a relaxed atmosphere reflective of the lake culture that inspired the brand. The bar top has a hand-painted map of the lake and the neighborhoods surrounding it. Andy envisions people sitting around the bar and telling stories of where they live and reminiscing about time spent on the lake.
“We didn’t just stumble upon the Lake Norman brewery name,” Andy says. “We realized we wanted to fill this void in the lake area. Everyone knows the lake and loves it and associates with it.” Soon, he hopes, they’ll come to know and love a small Mooresville taproom run by a father-and-son team.
Lake Norman Brewing Company Tap Room159 Barley Park LaneUnit BMooresville, NC 28115Hours: Tuesday and Thursday, 4 p.m.-7 p.m.; Saturday, 2 p.m.-8 p.m. www.lakenormanbrewingcompany.com