Buzzed Viking under new ownership

A management change and a series of challenges have not deterred Buzzed Viking Brewing and Meadery owners Mike Moroe and Edward Hudson from their goal of “giving the Locust community what they want.”

“Locust has a lot of development, yet still has a hometown atmosphere,” said Moroe, describing the community as a “cross between Blowing Rock and Mayberry,” and says the owners want Buzzed Viking to reflect that image.

“We want to be a Locust-designed brewery,” he said, noting menu item names (“Locust Branches” and “Crossroads Curds”) as examples.

“We want to serve Locust’s needs while we grow with the community,” he said, “and we want to always be available to support the community, charitable causes and be involved,” adding he would attend upcoming town council meetings and that the business would participate in a Fall Festival event on Oct. 28.

When Moroe’s stepson Edward assumed co-ownership of the business on Sept. 1 after previous co-owner Jon Pokorny stepped aside, the two identified a number of changes that would need to be made.

“Under the previous management, we didn’t feel as connected with the community as we’d like to be,” Moroe said, “and we want to change that. More changes are to come, and that will take time.”

Both owners and all the Buzzed Viking management staff live in the Locust community, which contributes to community connections. In addition, efforts are being made to utilize as many locally-sourced ingredients as possible in menu items, and local wines made available.

In addition to the challenges brought on by the ownership change, Buzzed Viking received a low health grade in summer 2023 as a result of new regulations requiring CO2 sensors on all tap lines.

“We have corrected that problem,” said Moroe, adding that new sensors have been added as required under state health code.

In addition, Moroe and Hudson have “tweaked” the menu somewhat, and most brewing for the facility is done on-site.
The two also stated a goal of making Buzzed Viking a place where people “want to come and stay a while.”

“We have a great menu for a brewery,” said Moroe, “and people don’t have a long wait for food. We want our atmosphere to be one where people come out, eat, drink and spend time,” citing events such as karaoke (Wednesday nights) and music bingo (Thursday nights) designed for this purpose.

Both Moroe and Hudson are military veterans and both have law enforcement backgrounds, and this has led to a unique program to honor and recognize those of like backgrounds.

“We have the SKOL Wall,” said Moroe. (SKOL means “cheers,” or “good health,” a salute or a toast, as to an admired person or group). “Customers can pay ahead, and this is noted on a wall next to the bar. This enables us to offer military veterans and law enforcement veterans a free round when they visit us.”

“It’s a way of ‘paying it forward’ in appreciation for their service.”

Buzzed Viking Brewery and Meadery is at 805 W. Main St., Locust.

Hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday.

Toby Thorpe is a freelance writer for The Stanly News & Press.