RALEIGH, NC (April 3, 2013)— Brewing a new tradition, North Carolina rings in spring with its inaugural Beer Month as a testament to the state’s influence in the craft beer business. Sponsored by the North Carolina Brewers Guild and the North Carolina Division of Tourism, Beer Month takes in special tours, tastings, dinners, classes, festivals and lodging packages celebrating local variations on this heady beverage.
Toast North Carolina’s beer craftsmanship and the destinations where it thrives with these seven fun facts in honor of the month-long beer fête:
- North Carolina is home to nearly 85 breweries — more than any other state south of Pennsylvania and east of Texas, according to a Beer Association survey.
- The newly released “State of the Craft Beer Industry” report for 2013 shows North Carolina setting the pace for growth of new breweries with a 23 percent increase in 2011.
- Three major craft breweries have chosen the Asheville area for East Coast expansions: Oskar Blues (which opened in Brevard in December), Sierra Nevada (Mills River, opening mid-2013) and New Belgium (Asheville, opening 2014).
- In the space of a year, Charlotte saw three breweries — NoDa, Birdsong and Heist — open within half a mile of each other in the lively NoDa neighborhood.
- Asheville has reigned as Beer City USA since 2009, either winning the poll or tying for the top spot every year. The city has 14 breweries, half a dozen beer festivals and the popular Asheville Brews Cruise.
- North Carolina is home to the nation’s first solar-powered brewery (Outer Banks Brewing Station in Kill Devil Hills) and the first LEED Gold brewery (Mother Earth Brewing in Kinston).
- North Carolina has become synonymous with craft beer, from Spring Brew, a 2012 World Beer Cup Gold Award winner from Wilmington’s Front Street Brewery, to First Frost, a Good Food Award winner from Durham’s Fullsteam Brewing, and a host of “bucket list” beers.