What's In Store

South End brewery rebrands itself amid expansion

The Suffolk Punch in South End
The Suffolk Punch in South End

Suffolk Punch is dropping the “Hyde Brewing” name from its brewery operations as the company grows.

In a statement Thursday, Suffolk Punch management said that the Hyde name will be replaced with “Suffolk Punch” in its kitchen, taphouse and coffee bar.

Following the re-branding, Suffolk Punch will start distributing its beer throughout North Carolina in early 2019. This will be the first time the company’s beer will be available for purchase outside its South End location, which is at 2911 Griffith St., near the New Bern light-rail station.

To support the distribution, Suffolk Punch will be opening a brewing facility next year on Freedom Drive focused on sours and wild ales. It will be affiliated with Jim Noble’s new barbecue restaurant nearby, Noble Smoke.

The name change is meant to clear up any brand confusion that customers might have between Suffolk Punch and Hyde before distribution begins, co-founder Collin Ricks told the Observer.

“We’re trying to keep things very ‘unconfusing’ before we start distribution and open a new production facility,” Ricks said.

Suffolk Punch is named after work horses in Suffolk County, England, where co-founder Dan Hyde’s family is from. Hyde, a retired Duke Energy engineer and the namesake of the beer brand that’s being replaced, is Ricks’s father-in-law.

The re-branding of the brewery comes about a year after Hyde Brewing LLC was sued by a company called sbe Licensing LLC for trademark infringement. Sbe is a hospitality group that owns hotels, clubs and bars including the Hyde nightclub in the Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas and the Hyde Beach lounge in Miami.

The lawsuit was dismissed in August, and it’s unrelated to the brewery’s decision to rebrand, said Ricks, who is also a principle at The Durban Group in Charlotte.

Ricks said that given the following that the Suffolk Punch name has gotten in the community since it opened in 2017, rebranding was “an easy choice.”

“As we’ve continued to grow, the brand has naturally evolved to a place where expansion and distribution have become a reality. We look forward to having our products available to even more people throughout our region,” Ricks said in a statement Thursday.

Along with a brewery, cafe and kitchen that has a rotating menu of small plates and main dishes, Suffolk Punch has an outdoor patio/entertainment space with picnic-table seating, flat-screen TVs and an outdoor bar.

Rendering of the Suffolk Punch in South End Courtesy of the Suffolk Punch