Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Wednesday's Big Question: On beer

Let's try this for a few weeks: I'll ask a Big Question and you tell me what you think.
Question for the week: How much locally brewed beer can Charlotte sustain?

With this week's announcement of the opening of Sycamore Brewing in South End, we're faced with the riches of Olde Mecklenburg, Triple C and Four Friends in that area, plus the new Unknown, Free Range and District 9, plus the established NoDa, Birdsong, Heist and Ass Clown. (That's not mentioning Rock Bottom, which is a national chain but brews on-site.)

Business writer Ely Portillo and I were discussing the pros and cons: Charlotte's clearly a better hub for transporting the wares elsewhere than most N.C. spots, from the owners' perspective, while isn't it a more-and-merrier situation for drinkers? We're not sure. We need good. We need restaurants serving strong local brews.

What think you all?


Anonymous said...

We're no where near the max yet. If a local brewer has a quality product and a quality tap room, with a solid sales plan to get into restaurants, bars, and retailers, then they'll be okay. In fact, I'm not even sure a quality product is necessary: Heist's beer is pretty terrible, but 1) A large percentage of their customers don't know that, and 2) They have a quality/unique food/dining experience -- so they appear to be okay. Oh, and you didn't mention Dukbone. They appear to be on track, but they could just as easily end up like Regimental Brewing -- failed before launch.

Doug said...

I would like to think we're just scratching the surface on brewery growth in Charlotte. Portland has more than 50 breweries, and Denver has at least that many, if not more. Per the comment above, if the beer is good and the experience is unique, there's no reason this won't continue. The big brands are the ones who have the most to lose as people become more attuned to what good beer is.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the previous comment. Raleigh and Asheville still have more breweries than Charlotte so we have a long way to go as the states largest city. We also have the advantage that we can draw from SC.

Along with the above comments on Heist, restaurants and bars along with customers need to realize that OMB is not the only beer in town. I get frustrated when they are my only local choice at area restaurants.

Anonymous said...

Asheville with its numerous local and national micro brews has been asking the very same question. It's regional population is much smaller than Charlottes.

Anonymous said...

I believe this area can handle more breweries, but why do they all have to be in Uptown, South End and NoDa? How about a brewery or two in Union County?

Anonymous said...

NC Beer consumption per capita: 27.1 gallons (most of that is swill)

NC Brews 4,930,023 gallons of craft beer (2012)

NC Craft beer output is about 1/2 gallon per person

The NC Craft Beer industry has plenty of room to grow (if the masses stop drinking swill)