CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – There are some 80 craft breweries in Mecklenburg County and the surrounding area… making this a rising beer destination.
An online series called “Crafted” taps into the story of the close-knit community behind these beverages. It explores the process, the people, and the ingredients that drive the craft beer industry.
“You know a lot of people think of beer as cheap mass-market beer… and that’s all they’ve been exposed to,” Daniel Wade of Wooden Robot Brewery said in Craft’s opening episode.
The third season features local brewers, including Wooden Robot, Divine Barrel Brewing, Pilot Brewing, and Salud Cerveceria.
Producer Craig Chapman says that after recently spotlighting Asheville’s beer scene, making the trip here seemed like a natural step.
“It was really apparent to me that Charlotte had this burgeoning, like rising craft beer scene and craft food scene. And there’s just a lot going on, the city’s growing very fast,” Chapman told us.
Yet the brewers we spoke to say the Queen City still flies under the radar.
“Charlotte is looked at… it’s a banking community; it’s got a major airport,” said Ben Dolphens of Divine Barrel. “I think sometimes the beer might get lost in that a little bit, but I think people are understanding… Charlotte has become a destination for beer, which we’re super happy about.”
“Some are sticking to more traditional beer styles, some are exploring the gamut of flavors… doing more trendy and newer styles,” Chapman told Queen City News. “So, I think you have a great variety there.”
“Very distinct and individual neighborhoods like NoDa, which is the part of the town we’re in, is the arts district,” Dolphens explained in one episode.
“It’s just something very special we’ve got,” he added. “I think they did a pretty good job of showing how unique everybody is, but also how we all kind of work together to further this Charlotte beer scene.”
There are 364 craft brewers statewide, and nearly a quarter are in Mecklenburg and surrounding counties.
With more breweries, you might expect competition to be fierce. Instead, collaboration has taken root.
“And there’s so many people from farmers to masters, to hop growers that touch the process,” Dolphens said. “And it’s really a cool way to support local agriculture and help build a local culture that is unique to the regions.”
“There’s not many other industries I can think of where you would tell me all your secrets to how you do something so that I can take that and use it, do it myself,” he noted.
That generosity among brewers helps build a unique beer culture in Charlotte.
“Seeing people’s eyes light up and say ‘I didn’t know beer could taste like that,’ that’s a really fun opportunity.”
You can watch “Crafted” on YouTube, and it will soon be available on Amazon Prime.
Each season of the show includes the release of a collaborative craft beer.