Craft brewery business booming in North Carolina
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DURHAM--The backwards "f" on the door of Fullsteam Brewery isn't a typo.
Sean Lilly Wilson is the brewery's founder.
“It's what I'm doing with my life, it's what I'm meant to do, I'm good at beer,” he said.
When he tapped into the brewery business, he looked backwards into North Carolina's past for inspiration.
“It's tying in North Carolina's local, agriculture, farm and food traditions and incorporating that into the brewing process,” Wilson explained.
Craft breweries, like Fullsteam, are brewing in the Southeast as consumers continue to grow a thirst for locally brewed beer.
“If you looked at the shelves, retailer shelves five years ago, you would not see anything except major breweries domestic and international, now at least half of their shelves are dedicated to craft beers,” said Daniel Bradford, the publisher of All About Beer magazine.
The magazine said there were only 28 breweries in the state in 2005, now there are 70.
“It wasn't until the mid to late 90's that people started really embracing craft beer. I think it has a lot to do with the creative class, with people who look towards different aesthetics who look for more of the romance and culture,” Bradford said.
Cities aren't shaking off this hangover. They've enhanced the customer experience to keep the movement and money flowing in North Carolina.
"Asheville has turned it into a tourist mecca, they have I don't know how many breweries there and it's an integral element, there are beer tours, you can go around to Raleigh, Durham,” he explained.
And that's something Wilson says is deserving of a toast.
This weekend, the magazine is hosting its 17th annual World Beer Festival in downtown Durham.