Evolution Craft Brewery Co. marks 9 years

Evolution Craft Brewery Co. and Public House, known for using local ingredients and pairing meals with locally brewed beers, celebrated its ninth anniversary last weekend.

The restaurant, in the old Salisbury ice plant on East Vine Street, had a pet-friendly, all-you-can-eat-and-drink tasting party on Saturday with entertainment by Muskrat Lightning, games and prizes.

“As an Eastern Shoreman myself, it’s really fun to be part of a community so vibrant, that really affects the landscape of the culture of Downtown Salisbury,” said Austin Widdowson, director of marketing for Southern Boys Concepts, the company that owns EVO and other restaurants including Sobo’s, Red Roost and Specific Gravity.

EVO’s philosophy, he explained, is to be a restaurant first. Brewing was added because one of the owners, Tom Knorr, had a passion for craft beer, Widdowson explained.

Knorr, with his brother John, founded EVO in 2009. The brewery started in Delmar and moved to Salisbury in 2012.

Restaurants in the group have different styles and varied menus – crabs at Red Roost, steak and fancier fare at SoBo’s, pizza and wings at Specific  Gravity – and beers are paired with them.

“I’ve been buying for a long time. We’re replacing products that we could buy with our own products. Pale ale, sour beer or whatever it might be in someone else’s line, we’re putting our own beers out there.

“We make beers that pair with food. Our menus are geared around the experience of pairing with fine beers. What we say is, ‘Ever better beer for ever better food,’” he said.

Meals are made with beef and vegetables from farm to table and fish from dock to table.

“It’s really about keeping it local,” Widdowson said.

“In an ever-evolving marketplace, the roots of where we come from, supporting all of our other independent business owners in this community, strengthens everyone. A rising tide supports all the ships,” he said.

EVO plans to build an outdoor theater and stage and is involved with the city’s marathon this weekend and National Folk Festival in September. The stage will be on the front side of the building and seat about 300.

“Right now, we’re in the permitting phases. This summer, we’ll have local bands play here and also national bands. We will be the only restaurant with an actual outdoor stage,” he said.

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