TRU Colors gears up for beer production

Wilmington-based TRU Colors is officially working from its new headquarters and setting up its brewery with the aim of producing beer this summer, the company’s president and CEO George Taylor said this week.

TRU Colors, which aims to reduce street violence by training skills and employing local gang members within its business, moved into its headquarters at 715 Greenfield St. The company purchased the property, formerly the former Century Mills site, for $950,000 in 2019.

TRU Colors’ workforce of 65 employees – the majority of whom are tied to the local gang community – now have their own space. The company previously operated out of the downtown headquarters of Untappd, another local tech company started by the Taylor family.

There isn’t an area of ​​business that doesn’t have gang members or people in the gang community, Taylor said.

Working to begin bringing employees into the 53,000 square foot headquarters building (shown at right) happened in November, he said.

Other components of the new headquarters: the TRU Colors brewery; a functional recording studio for music, podcasts and video recordings; a daycare that can accommodate up to 65 children; and an in-house gym, are coming, Taylor said.

TRU Colors is currently delaying plans to build a restaurant, he said.

“Everything will be up and running by the end of the second quarter, except daycare,” Taylor said.

For its new brewery, TRU Colors is currently transporting brewery equipment while building other parts of its facilities to further its mission, Taylor said.

“Equipment has started showing up…it’s coming,” Taylor said, adding that brewery equipment turnaround times have been slow due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We currently believe we will have beer out the back door the first week of July,” he said. “That’s the target date if we don’t have any more COVID-related delays. We’re ready on site. We just don’t have all the equipment.”

The 34,000-square-foot brewhouse section of TRU Colors’ headquarters will include 19 fermentation tanks (three of which are already in place) and a six-tank, 55-barrel brewhouse, Taylor said.

When completed, it will become one of the largest brewing facilities in the Wilmington area.

“Running two shifts, we can handle about 1.3 million case equivalents per year,” Taylor said.

There will also be a fully functional canning and kegging line on the brewery floor to package beer from TRU Colors and prepare the beer for distribution. Taylor said additional cast details are forthcoming.

TRU Colors has also hired an experienced employee to run the brewery, veteran brewmaster Brian Faivre, the new vice president of brewery operations.

“Brian comes from a large West Coast brewery. He’s been in the business for about 20 years,” Taylor said.

Taylor declined to disclose the amount of investment that went into equipping the new headquarters and all of its components.

The TRU Colors venture, however, is backed by a small group of private investors from as far away as New York and San Francisco, he said.

“This company has always been backed by me and other private investors. It always has been,” Taylor said. “It’s only private investors who are interested in solving the problem… Everyone is trying to figure out how to deal with these problems, whether it’s violence or racial division, poverty or education, and they see this as an opportunity to make a real impact at scale.”

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