Last week I attended the Visit NC 365 Conference on Tourism in Greenville North Carolina. As the “official” craft beer enthusiast representative from my office, I was instructed to make sure that I attend the break out titled “Research Findings & Motivational Preferences of Craft Beer Consumers.” Researcher, Chris Cavanaugh with Magellan Strategy Group presented his findings in partnership with Appalachian State University and the NC Craft Brewers Guild. Yes, craft beer is so big in North Carolina that we have a NC Craft Brewers Guild. Our Governor has proclaimed April as NC Beer Month and NC now has over 200 breweries with 50 more slated to open in 2017! NC craft beer is big business and any tourism professional knows that to be considered as a destination for overnight or day trips, visitors are looking for brew stops along the way. Even Tarboro, NC with population size over 11,000 opened its first brewery Tarboro Brewing Company last summer.
Who are these craft beer drinkers that North Carolina caters too so well? Out of 2,500 craft beer enthusiasts surveyed, men (59%) and women (40%) are affluent, well-educated households with income levels well over $100,000. They are just now starting their families, at least 1/3 surveyed had one child. Around 65% are married. Almost half surveyed considered to be moderately to very liberal. They range from 20’s to early 40’s. Over 95% of the surveyors have visited a craft brewery and will actively seek them out on travel. They seek local cuisines, healthy choices, and like to buy local from small businesses. They drink craft beer more than five times a month. They own pets, particularly dogs who they like to take with them on their beer excursions.
So where does High Point fit in to the NC craft beer puzzle? Lucky for us, we are armed and ready with information to direct craft beer lovers to our breweries as well as retail and dining establishments that have ample selections of craft brews. They are all so unique and are all loved by our community. Our office at the High Point Convention & Visitors Bureau also recognizes these demographics in our marketing efforts as well as the City of High Point’s desire to include more social offerings to millennial demographics by increasing the engaged working millennials by 25%. As our core city is enhanced, we will keep our fingers crossed that it will include even more social offering for our beer enthusiasts. However, we have a good base of establishments now and they are a force to be reckoned with!
So, let’s start off with one of High Point’s local watering holes in Uptowne High Point. Brown Truck Brewery just celebrated their one year anniversary and boy did they throw a party! Locals have been supporting this new start-up which delights High Point CVB as we have more brewery businesses to promote to visitors. Brown Truck is known for its award-winning beer, outdoor ambiance, and popular food truck offerings. In its first year, they racked up at the Great American Beer Festival including one gold medal for its No. 10 American Lager and also won accolades for Very Small Brewing Company of the Year and Very Small Brewing Company Brewer of the Year! Not too shabby for year one. Congrats Britt Lytle, John Vaughan, and Ian Burnett! My new favorite hands down is the Honey Smoked Brown Ale that I enjoyed at the High Point Area Arts Council’s Arts & Drafts Event earlier this month. Get it now on tap before it’s gone!
High Point’s Godfather of craft brews is David Armstrong proprietor of The Brewer’s Kettle located on North Main Street beside George’s Pizza. This establishment is not a brewery but you are sure to find your new favorite NC craft brew whether its local or from afar. David first planted his retail roots in High Point in 2009 and has not slowed down since. With three new additions in Kernersville, Wilmington and Clemmons, The Brewer’s Kettle is gaining more recognition. When you visit, you will be served by knowledgeable staff and great customer service. Enjoy a beer on tap and pick up a six pack before you go. They also offer selections in wine and cigars. See them if you want to talk all things beer. They do not serve food so call in an order from George’s Pizza while you’re finishing your beverage. After a while, when you walk in they will be able to make recommendations to you based off your preferences. They are just that good!
High Point’s original brewery is Liberty Brewery & Grill located conveniently off of Hwy 68- Eastchester Drive. They have award winning brews, good food, plenty of seating and brunch! Their most popular event is the Oink N’ Oyster Roast on April 1st…yes more of popular NC pairings of oyster and barbecue! What a way to kick off NC Beer Month! Make sure your flight includes Miss Liberty Lager and Blackberry Wheat.
There are lots of other hangouts in High Point to enjoy an NC craft brew. If you need a cozy spot complete with cheese tray, try Real Kitchen & Market and the Real Bar. If you want an eclectic pizza with your beer, try Blue Rock Pizza & Tap with 40 taps on sight. Tipsy’z Tavern and Grill has your game day atmosphere, NC craft beer and any gourmet burger of your choice.
Discover your own NC craft beer journey with resources from the High Point Convention & Visitors Bureau. Go to our website at www.highpoint.org for a complete listing as well as browse the 21 galleries and interactive kiosks of the High Point Regional Visitors Center to dive deeper into all things beer in High Point! NC craft beer lovers are very vocal on social media (more so women as I learned from my research session last week) so take to Facebook and Trip Advisor for reviews of our local establishments.
High Point is ready to serve you. Cheers!