WILMINGTON – The TRU Colors Brewery, a Wilmington-based brewing operation that employs rival gang members, who together, brew the beer and operate the business, will receive a $9.25 million investment from PNC’s Community Development Banking group, the organizations announced Thursday.

George Taylor, the founder of the company, told WRAL TechWire in an interview that the funding was used to complete the company’s new facility, supporting the launch of the company’s products statewide.

The company soft-launched its product line in 2021, and opened up distribution state-wide earlier this year, including adding distribution to the Triangle, Taylor told WRAL TechWire.

The facility, a 56,000 square foot former textile factory that had been abandoned, is now the company’s headquarters and brewery operations center, a statement shared with WRAL TechWire by Taylor noted.

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Power of economic opportunity

According to the statement, the funding came in the form of $6 million in an equity investment and $3.25 million in a secured line of credit.

Taylor told WRAL TechWire that more and more companies are understanding the impact that investing in for-profit businesses that promote positive economic opportunity in local communities can have.

“Economic opportunity is a solution to many of the problems out there,” said Taylor.  “We’re lifting local communities by making them safe, and creating jobs and opportunity.”

Taylor, a serial entrepreneur who also launched NextGlass, which would go on to acquire Untappd, then later be acquired by a private equity firm, developed the idea for TRU Colors and launched the company in 2016, according to WRAL TechWire’s prior reporting.

WilmingtonBiz first reported the news earlier on Thursday.

The company received a minority investment from Molson-Coors in April 2021 and would go on to launch its first commercial products later in the year.

The company is currently hiring for at least four roles and for its “Disrupt-U” program, an 8-week onboarding program the company developed.