Apr 5, 2023 - Food and Drink

First look: Owners of Seoul Food Meat Co. to open a new brewery and soju distillery


LaBARatory photo courtesy of Tim Chun

The new brewery called LaBARatory will be located across the Cross Charlotte Trail at the Urban Mill District Market in Villa Heights.

Why it matters: LaBARatory will also be a soju distillery, which owner Tim Chun tells me is hard to come by here. He says he often has to wait several months for it to be delivered from suppliers.

  • Plus, there’s an appetite in Charlotte for alcoholic beverages that aren’t beer. “People are into [beer] alternatives like seltzers, sours, ranch water,” Chun notes. “I think it’s time for Makoli (a Korean rice wine) to shine.”

Zoom in: Soju, similar to beer, is made by distilling alcohol from fermented grains. That’s why the brewery-soju distillery combo made sense for Chun.

  • It’s also known as Korean vodka” because it’s a clear alcoholic beverage with 20-25% ABV.
Cluck Design is behind the design of the space and Liles Construction built it out. Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios

Zoom out: LaBARatory is the latest brainchild of Chun and his wife Lisa Kamura, who had a busy 2022. First. they opened BIT by Seoul Food in SouthPark, and most recently their second Seoul Food Meat Co. location in Villa Heights, which is essentially a giant playground for the whole family.

In step with the science theme, the drinks will be served in beakers and test tubes. Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios

What to expect: LaBARatory will have a full bar and 20 taps with rotating beverages. “We don’t plan to have flagship beers. We’ll just continue to experiment,” Chun said.

  • You’ll be able to take your beverage across a bridge and over to Seoul Food Meat Co. Mill District, and vice versa.
Chun is actively searching for a slide to add to the other side of the deck so people can slide over to Seoul Food Meat Co.  Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios

Details: LaBARatory is located at 2315 N. Davidson St.

Distilling equipment is by Deutsch Beverage. Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios
Seoul Food Meat Co.
Seoul Food Meat Co. new Villa Heights location. Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios

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