Briana Brake, left, with Scott Meyer, owner of Planetary Elixirs, working in NCC’s production lab.
Briana Brake relocated to Rocky Mount from Durham because she wanted to be a part of the Rocky Mount Mills incubator project. What she found was a welcoming brewing community and brewing-specific educational offerings to help support her new venture.
“I am excited to learn everything that I can about the brewing and fermentation process. In the five years that I have been home brewing, I have learned a lot about those processes, but I still have a lot to learn,” she said. Brake is enrolled in Nash Community College’s Brewing, Distillation and Fermentation (BDF) degree program.
Working in the College’s 360° Brewing Production and Entrepreneurial Lab at Rocky Mount Mills, and in the lab located on the college’s main campus, Briana Brake is surveying fermented products this semester with plans to enroll in the Distillation course next. “The classes offered in the BDF program are what initially attracted me to NCC’s program, along with the proximity of NCC to the Mill and my home in Rocky Mount.”
Brewing has not always been part of Briana’s plan, however. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Information Systems from Strayer University and worked previously in higher education.
“I started home brewing as a hobby and really enjoyed it so I decided to take a class to get better at brewing and to learn a bit about the industry,” she said.Brake enrolled in Wake Technical Community College’s Craft Beer Brewing class and learned about fermentation, brewhouse operations and packaging, and soon after she left her corporate role to pursue her passion for brewing full-time. Earlier this year, she launched Spaceway Brewing Company.
Briana appreciates the creativity and comradery that come with brewing. “I love the smell of the ingredients and putting together recipes. I really enjoy the entire brewing process and how at the end of it all there’s beer,” she said. “Brewing isn’t just about beer for me, though. It’s also about how it creates opportunities for people to socialize while creating something. One of my favorite things about home brewing is when a friend can come over and help me brew.”
Brake plans to open Rocky Mount Brewery at Rocky Mount Mills in October 2018 along with Harlem Brewing founder, Celeste Beatty. She will be responsible for brewing and daily operations.
Recipe creation is the aspect Briana most looks forward to as she launches Rocky Mount Brewery. “I like to think about a style of beer and what ingredients will be required to create the flavors that I imagine and then try to get as close to the beer that I had in mind.”
“I like to brew complex beers and experiment with different flavors in common beer styles,” she said. “Perhaps I’ll try a Gueuze style beer which takes about three years to make.”
For more information about Brewing, Distillation and Fermentation at NCC, call 252-451-8336.