Koi Pond to mark second anniversary


Eric Ghiloni, co-owner of Koi Pond Brewing Co., pours a glass of Gateway Dubbel. The brewery is celebrating its second anniversary on Saturday.


Staff Writer

Thursday, January 4, 2018

The first tenant in the Rocky Mount Mills will hold an upcoming special event.

In honor of its two years on the Mills campus, Koi Pond Brewing Co. will host a second year anniversary celebration event on Saturday at its craft brewery at 1107 Falls Road. Rocky Mount native Eric Ghiloni, founder and co-owner of Koi Pond Brewing Co., said the event was originally scheduled to be centered around a pig pickin’ and chowder cooking contest but that part has been rescheduled for a later date because of the weather.

“It’s just going to be too cold to be outside cooking for that long period of time,” Ghiloni said. “We’ve decided to change up our schedule with some other events.”

The line up for Saturday has Jessica Hicks hosting a yoga class starting at noon. Hicks and her husband Michael became the owners last summer of the Bel Air Artisans Center at 115 S. Church St. in downtown Rocky Mount.

Ghiloni said later in the day there will be a founders’ party from 6 to 8 p.m., followed by Tipsy Tomato’s pizza party at Koi Pond from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. The pizza party will feature anniversary pizza specials. In addition, there will be live music from 8 to 11 p.m. and $1 off beer and wine all day, Ghiloni said.

Koi Pond Brewing Co. opened on Dec. 31, 2015, in one of the mill houses that was built in 1835. In addition to Ghiloni, the craft brewery venture also involves Ghiloni’s wife, Mary, and longtime friends and business partners Matthew and Deborah Sperati, who are both local attorneys. Ghiloni said Koi Pond started with a single request from one of his friends that evolved into a new business.

Koi Pond Brewing is open in the afternoons from Wednesday through Sunday, featuring a variety of craft beers such as American Ale, Belgian Ale, Belgian Witbier and other craft beer selections. Koi Pond also features live music three days a week, a trivia contest on Wednesday and open mic night on Thursday.

“It has been amazing, and we didn’t know how things were going to be and what the market would bear,” Ghiloni said. “We didn’t know the community would welcome us like they did. It has been awesome.”

Since Koi Pond Brewing opened up on the Mills campus, the revitalization of the 150-acre mixed used development on the Tar River has continued with restaurants and a brewery incubator opening at the site. Last year, the Mills signed a long-term lease with its first major corporate tenant, Envolve Vision.

The company is expected to relocate more than 100 employees, including its CEO David Lavely and Envolve’s leadership team to the Mills. Mills officials said Envolve is slated to begin operations at the Mills later this year.

“It’s been great to sit here and watch how the Mills has grown in the last year or so,” Ghiloni said. “It has been really nice to see other businesses come into this area and launch and thrive based on something that we didn’t know would spark like it did. We were the guinea pig and the first one to start out. However, it has been really nice to not only see us doing well, but to see other businesses come here and really shine.”

Although he couldn’t discuss any details, Ghiloni said, there could be some new things on the horizon for Koi Pond Brewing.

“We expect this to be a big year for us,” he said. “We’ve got some plans that we’re looking into and some opportunities. Hopefully, in the next few months, we will be able to announce some things — but we’re looking at some opportunities here to grow.”