Five years ago, I published my first post on CharlotteBeer.com.
Or rather, I published my first posts on the site, all of them events-based in nature: a Big Boss beer dinner at Whiskey Warehouse, a Founders Brewing dinner at Zink, an Olde Hickory tasting at Custom Home Pubs. You can see all three on a very primitive and dated site through the magic of the Internet Archive Wayback Machine.
I was obsessive in those days about chronicling every little tap takeover, tasting event or beer dinner in town. When I started the site, Charlotte was home to just two local breweries: The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery and Four Friends. Soon, though, I learned about NoDa Brewing and Birdsong Brewing, and had the honor of covering those breweries and so many more since.
I wish I could say I’ve covered the #cltbeer scene as exhaustively as I did in those first few days, but that hasn’t been the case. There are a few reasons for this: a full-time job; two (awesome) kids born after I started the site; columns for the Charlotte Observer and the Raleigh News and Observer; and — the best reason of all — a local beer scene that has so much going on it’s impossible to cover it all. That the beer scene has grown so much in five years makes me really proud.
Yes, some of the pages on the site are woefully outdated, and posts have been few and far between lately. I could tell you I have plans to fix that (I do), but that’s not the point of this post.
The point of this post is simply to say thank you.
When I started the site, I just wanted to aggregate and share whatever local beer happenings I could find. In so doing, though, I ended up meeting so many awesome people: brewers, bartenders, retailers, shop owners, festival promoters, and yes, just regular ol’ beer drinkers, too.
Over the last half a decade, I’ve met enough people that thanking them all here probably isn’t possible. If we’ve become friends as a result of the site and a shared passion, you know who you are! I do want to thank a few people in particular. If you’ve read Beer Lover’s the Carolinas or Charlotte Beer: A History of Brewing in the Queen City, you’ve no doubt seen the wonderful work of Eric Gaddy of Casting Shadows Photography. Eric has carved out quite a reputation as a “beertographer,” and in addition to his work I’m also grateful to have been able to travel all over the Carolinas with him in the name of beer.
A couple years ago, my friend Nick Signet helped me rebrand the website. I have no graphic design skills, and the site looked pretty bad beforehand. I kept trying to make this upside-down-crown-tulip-glass thing work (spoiler alert: it didn’t). Nick created a much more modern and visually-appealing logo, and having that sharp new logo made me even more proud of the site. I wrote a lot more as a result. I think a lot of people probably took the site a lot more seriously, too. Nick also created those cool “Drink Local” shirts you may have seen around town.
I want to thank Kathleen Purvis, food editor at the Charlotte Observer, for getting me a regular column there. What started as one short article a month has now turned into two articles a month, as well as a monthly article for the Raleigh News and Observer. Thanks for allowing me to reach a new readership and spread the stories of Charlotte beer.
Thanks to all of the breweries, bars and bottle shops in town for giving me plenty to write about over the years, and for graciously sharing your stories with me.
And thanks to you, dear reader. Seriously, I would never have started this site had it not been clear to me that — even five years ago — people were passionate about the local beer scene. And I’m not sure how long I would have kept it going without your daily reminders of that. Your comments and conversations — whether they be through e-mail, on Facebook, Twitter or (gasp!) in real life — keep me (and the site) going.
From the bottom of my glass, I offer my sincere thanks to all of you.