Why Charlotte is the Next Big Beer City
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (April 7, 2016) – It’s National Beer Day, and Charlotte’s got 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.
- 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.
- NoDa Brewing Company won the gold medal for its Hop, Drop n’ Roll IPA at the 2014 World Beer Cup.
- Lenny Boy Brewing Co.’s Burn Down for What sour won the title of Best Organic Sour at the National Organic Beer Competition in 2015 and the bronze medal at the 2016 Best of Craft Beer Awards.
- Sugar Creek Brewing Co.’s Belgian Dubbel won a silver medal at the U.S. Open Beer championship in 2015, and its Biére de Garde won the gold medal in the 2016 Best of Craft Beer Awards.
- Sycamore Brewing’s Southern Girl Blonde Lager won a bronze medal at the 2015 Great American Beer Festival.
- Triple C’s 3 C IPA each won a bronze medal at the 2015 Great American Beer Festival.
- In 2015, The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery’s Mecktoberfest took home the gold at the European Beer Star International Competition for German-style Märzen, a category that that had not seen a non-German winner since 2011.
- D9 Brewing Co. won second place for its Viking Fraoch and third place for their Ezekial 25:17 in the sour/wild beers category at the 2015 Great International Beer & Cider Competition.
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.
* Brewers Association 2015 Craft Brewing Growth
** 2014 Charlotte Resident Perception Study, 2015 Charlotte Resident Perception Study
*** Charlotte Chamber 2014 Craft Beer Impact Study (with 2015 numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics)
**** TheStreet.com 10 Cities Where Craft Beer is Taking Off
† The Charlotte region refers to the 16-county region around Charlotte, including 12 counties in North Carolina and four counties in South Carolina.
(In celebration of NC Beer Month, this five-part content series about Charlotte as a beer destination features facts and information that help tell the story of the city’s burgeoning craft beer scene.)
About the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority (CRVA)
The Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority (CRVA) works to deliver experiences that uniquely enrich the lives of our visitors and residents. Through leadership in destination development, marketing and venue management expertise, the CRVA leads efforts to maximize the region’s economic potential through visitor spending, creating jobs and opportunities for the community. Brands supported by the CRVA include the Charlotte Convention Center, Time Warner Cable Arena, Bojangles’ Coliseum, Ovens Auditorium, NASCAR Hall of Fame and Visit Charlotte in conjunction with the region’s destination marketing brand, ‘Charlotte’s got a lot.’ For more information about Charlotte, visit charlottesgotalot.com.