This year, N.C. Beer Month comes stamped with a gold seal.
An official proclamation from Gov. Pat McCrory marks April’s celebration of the state’s craft beer scene, reflecting just how much the second annual event has matured.
It mirrors the growing North Carolina craft brewing industry, now boasting about 100 breweries and an estimated $791 million economic impact.
“It’s really important to us that the leaders of this state recognize the positive impact craft beer has in North Carolina on the manufacturing economy, but also in tourism,” said Margo Knight Metzger, executive director of the N.C. Craft Brewers Guild.
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“It gives real credence to this industry as not some little niche industry but something that is really blossoming and becoming really important to the economy of this state.”
The monthlong spotlight is designed to indulge craft beer fans, lure out-of-towners and introduce newcomers to the state’s beer scene with special one-time brews and events.
“The goal at the end of Beer Month is to have created a whole lot more fans of North Carolina craft beer,” Knight Metzger said. “Our goal is to really just get the word out.”
It starts Saturday with an early kickoff party at White Street Brewing in Wake Forest featuring special beers and discussion panels with guild members. The following week, on April 5, the World Beer Festival comes to Raleigh.
The big ticket this year is a raffle to win a “brewmaster’s experience.” The winner gets a chance to create and brew a special beer in a two-day immersion at NoDa Brewing in Charlotte. Brian Mister, event coordinator at NoDa, said they’ve never offered such a behind-the-scenes peek. The winner will get to brew a 10-gallon batch.
The entire beer month effort is a collaboration between the guild and the N.C. Division of Tourism. Knight Metzger helped launch it a year ago as head of public relations at the state’s tourism office.
The inaugural celebration drew attention from publications across the state and nation, touting the fact that North Carolina has more breweries than any other Southern state. To buy that level of advertising, she said, would have cost $2.3 million.
“We really made a big impact,” Knight Metzger said. “Part of what we want to do is elevate the reputation of North Carolina craft beer so that people want to travel to North Carolina and enjoy our craft beer.”