Iron Key Brewing Company to be featured on PBS NC

Published 1:31 pm Monday, October 30, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Crews filmed Saturday at the popular Columbus restaurant


COLUMBUS—A crew from PBS NC shot a segment at Iron Key Brewing Company in Columbus on Saturday for “North Carolina Weekend,” a weekly travel and tourism magazine show on the statewide PBS network.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“One of the hallmarks of the show is featuring unique places for people to visit and explore,” says PBS NC producer and writer Clay Johnson, a resident of Tryon. “Having a brewery located in an old state prison is certainly unusual and makes it the kind of place people want to see.”

Johnson and local videographer Erik Olsen interviewed Iron Key manager Chris Balliew and brewers Dave Erb and Autumn McCormack. They also interviewed regular customers and Tryon residents Mats and Kathy Hellstrom and got footage inside and outside of the brewery.

The state prison that houses the brewery opened in 1932. The state closed it in the early 1960s and sold the property to the Polk County 4H Foundation for use as an agricultural education center. Investor Bob Bundy bought the prison in 2018 and Balliew and Erb partnered with him to open the brewery and restaurant in 2020. 

“We appreciate the opportunity to be featured on North Carolina Weekend and the exposure it’ll give us,” says Balliew. “The crew really seemed to pay attention to detail during the shoot and we look forward to seeing the finished segment.”

“North Carolina Weekend” premiers Thursday nights at 9 p.m. on PBS NC and repeats Friday at 5 p.m., Saturday at 10 a.m. and the following Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. The show is also available for on-demand streaming on the North Carolina Weekend website, YouTube channel and Facebook page. The episode featuring Iron Key Brewing Company is expected to premiere next March.