Around Town 15

Why Charlotte is the Next Big Beer City

The Queen City is becoming a king of craft beer in the U.S.

On National Beer Day in April, Charlotte had a lot to celebrate! As one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S., Charlotte is on the rise—and so is its craft beer scene. Here are just a few reasons why Charlotte should be on your radar as one of the nation’s next major beer cities.

1. The stats support it.

From a fast-growing brewery scene to increased craft beer sales and visitation to area breweries, Charlotte’s got a lot when it comes to craft beer—and we’ve got the numbers to prove it.

  • From 2012 to 2015, the number of breweries in the Charlotte area has grown from seven to 24. This represents a 242.8 percent increase compared to a 77.8 percent growth nationally.*
  • The current brewery count within Charlotte city limits is 14, 28 within the Charlotte region† and 15+ more currently in planning. The region accounts for nearly 20 percent of the 150+ breweries in North Carolina.
  • Nearly one in five Charlotte residents visits a Charlotte-area brewery when hosting friends or family in town, representing an 86 percent growth from 2014 to 2015.**
  • From 2012 to 2015, the number of brewery jobs in the region increased from 152 to 527 (a 246 percent increase).***
  • From 2014 to 2015, Charlotte experienced a 21.8 percent increase in craft beer sales, ranking fifth in the U.S.****
  • The Charlotte region saw $985.7 million in total economic impact from craft breweries in 2014.***

2. The Charlotte area has seen explosive brewery growth (with no signs of stopping).
Since 2009, the Charlotte craft beer scene has seen exponential growth with more than two dozen breweries opening one by one in hip and artsy neighborhoods like NoDa and South End. And areas like LoSo (Lower South End) are making a name for themselves as the next big drinking district in the city. Beyond city limits, towns like Cornelius, Mooresville and Concord have caught the craft beer buzz with pockets of breweries opening just a short drive from Uptown Charlotte.

These enclaves are continuing to develop a strong craft beer presence with craft breweries, bottle shops and beer bars sprinkled throughout while also welcoming new craft distilleries and cideries to the scene. And with the opening of the LYNX Blue Line light rail extension in 2017, access to many of these hoppy hot spots via public transportation will become easier than ever.

3. The city’s brews and craft beer culture are garnering national attention.
With dozens of breweries opening over the course of seven years, Charlotte has made a name for itself on the nation’s and world’s craft beer map. And brewmasters, inspired by local ingredients, unique methods and shapeshifting philosophies, have poured their hearts into their handcrafted creations—and they’re getting noticed, too.

Accolades:

  • Fortune called Charlotte “the newest hub for craft beer” and one of “the best new cities for beer lovers.”
  • The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery was named the “best brewery tour in the nation” by USA Today’s 10Best readers in 2014.
  • Beer Advocate magazine included Wooden Robot Brewery in its “Class of 2015 – 33 of the Best New Breweries.”
  • Southern Living named NoDa Brewing Company one of the “South’s best breweries” for 2016.
  • Charlotte-based BREWPUBLIK, the “Netflix of beers,” is the first Charlotte startup to be accepted into 500 Startups.

4. Charlotteans love their local beer, creating a high supply and 
demand for it everywhere in the city.
Locals and visitors have fallen in love with the community vibe and the unique setting of each brewery in Charlotte, but more importantly, they‘ve developed a strong preference for the homegrown beer churned out by each. The high demand for local suds has resulted in hundreds of restaurants and bars adding them to their tap lines and the majority of attractions across the region featuring them; there are few places in Charlotte you can go and not find a local brew to enjoy. And brewery or beer bar hopping (most with gorgeous patios) has become a weekend ritual for Charlotte-area residents and a magnetic draw for visitors with cravings for local brews.

In fact, according to data from the Untappd app, the top five beers within a 15-mile radius of Charlotte are all local, including: NoDa Brewing Company’s Hop, Drop ‘n Roll IPA and Jam Session; The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery’s Copper Amber Ale and Dunkel; and Birdsong Brewing Company’s Higher Ground IPA.

5. The Charlotte area has beer tours and festivals galore.
As craft beer has continued to dominate more and more of Charlotte’s cultural scene, the city has become a proud host for beer tours and festivals year-round, offering up the perfect way to experience a variety of the region’s local beers. Beer lovers can hop on a tour with Charlotte Brews Cruise, Brewery Tour Charlotte or Charlotte NC Tours, among others, or create their own beer crawl on Trolley Pub Charlotte. Or they can choose from more than 20 beer festivals held in the area each year, including the Moo and Brew Craft Beer and Burger Festival, Tuck Fest, and the North Carolina Brewers and Music Festival coming up soon.

With so much to do, see and sip, there is no better time to explore Charlotte. For more information on events, attractions, hotels, dining and more, visit CLTOnTap.com or call the Visitor Info Center at 800-231-4636.

Locally and Around the World, the Power of Giving Thrives at Rug & Home

Over the course of its 20 years in business, Rug & Home has always maintained a strong belief in giving back to all of the communities where we are physically located as well as across the world, where we source our products. Locally, Rug & Home has made over 15,000 flower deliveries to the elderly as well as given hundreds of rugs and tens of thousands of dollars to charities. The crowning achievement of Rug & Home’s donations, however, comes from abroad using its partnership with a local charity called Vision Express.

Founded in 2012, Vision Express is a 501c3 charity based in Western North Carolina. It was originally designed to provide free, sight-restoring cataract operations to underprivileged Indian women who cannot afford it.  Recently, Vision Express has expanded to not only restore eyesight, but also to provide abdominal surgeries for kidney stones, gall bladders, hysterectomies, and other surgeries designed to prevent malignancy and cancer.

Over the past 8 months alone, Rug & Home has provided, through its partnership with Vision Express, 472 cataract operations and over 100 other lifesaving surgeries to these underprivileged women that cannot afford it.

FDA Testing Required on Imported Olive Oil

Don’t fall victim to olive oil fraud.

On a recent 60 Minutes story this year, it exposed Italy’s olive oil business has been corrupted with tampered and diluted olive oil in ways that could affect American consumers.  By the time this heavenly liquid reaches American shores, much of it has lost its luster, often due to tampering.  Some estimates reveal that 75-80 percent of the oil sold in the U.S. grocery stores does not meet the legal grades for extra-virgin oil.  In April, congress directed the FDA to start testing imported olive oil.

So, what’s a foodie to do?  Since freshness matters, located in the heart of Ballantyne, The Olive Tap is a tasting emporium, featuring a wide variety of gourmet olive oils and balsamic vinegars. Each and every 100% Extra Virgin Olive Oil must be approved by the Official Olive Tap Tasting Panel.  They offer artisan products sourced from the very best producers in the world, and your choices will be bottled for you on the spot. They pride themselves on freshness, purity, and distinctive flavor profiles, and procure only the finest oils and vinegars. (For more info check out The Olive Tap’s ad in this issue).