Craft Breweries & Spirits
Hospitality is Always on Tap! Expand your palate at a beer dinner, or go behind the scenes on a brewery/distillery tour. Orange County’s craft brewery scene is on the rise with new breweries popping up; five just in the past few years and more on the way.
Why, What, Where: Craft Beer In Orange County
by Greg Barbera
In 1996, Carolina Brewery and Top of The Hill Restaurant & Brewery were a sudsy respite for craft beer in a sea of mass produced mainstream beer. Today, North Carolina—and the Triangle—are considered a hot spot in the country’s ever-growing beer scene.
“At this point, I think it's safe to say that beer is growing everywhere,” says Erik Lars Myers of Mystery Brewing Company in Hillsborough. “It's one of the fastest growing industries in the country.”
It seems the old adage of, “If you build it, they will come” is ringing true with local beer.
“I think what sustains the growth in our local industry is passion and a wide variety of interest from our customers,” explains Myers. “Small breweries are fun for people to visit, they're great for tourism, and that's one of the reasons we're successful—both here in Orange County and elsewhere.”
As the interest grows for local beer, so does the demand.
“We sell close to 3 times as much of our Big Mon IPA as we do of almost any other brand, and it has always been that way,” says Eric Knight of Steel String Brewery in Carrboro. “Our IPA is approachable and hits the familiar citrus notes that most people expect in an IPA. It has sometimes been a struggle, as we move more product into packaging, to keep it on tap at all times.”
If you find you don’t have the time to test your taste buds with local beer fresh off the tap from the brewery, you can find a wide selection of local—as well as statewide—craft beer at The Beer Study and Carrboro Beverage Company.
About the Author: Greg Barbera is a local journalist. In the last twenty years he has written about all kinds of subjects from music, beer and food to what it feels like to drive a race car or work on a major motion picture. One day he hopes to publish a coffee table book on photographs of clouds. You can follow him on Instagram and Twitter @gregeboy