Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Just getting started...

As many of you may know, I've recently been... ahem... "introduced" to the opportunity to hunt down a new line of work (actually, I sold my share of my design firm Springboard Eydo to my former business partners, and could start a new one, I guess... just not sure I'm up for sitting in front of a computer 8-10 hours a day again for the next umpteen years...)

But I digress. After graduating college in '99 and deciding to start my first graphic design company (then, just a one-man shop called Perpetua Interactive), I told myself I'd sell whatever I had going on my fortieth birthday and open a restaurant. I figured the change would do me good, and I always loved the idea of using whatever creative mind I've been given to craft unique dishes and a culinary experience in the "formal setting" of a restaurant establishment.

So in October 2010, when I decided to potentially wrap up my formal graphic design career, my first thought was that I'd get an early start (I'll be 34 in February) on that restaurant business I'd always wanted to chase down. But tugging at the back of my mind was my newfound love for all things beer. Over the past year or so, I've learned to better appreciate what real beer has been over the centuries and is today, what it tastes like, what goes into it, and how it's created. I've experienced the dry, fruitiness of a saison, the malty complexity of a baltic porter, the acidic tartness of an oude gueuze, and have had the pleasure of finding the time to fine-tune my own beer making skills. The idea of my own restaurant quickly gave way to that of a bustling brewpub, which has since evolved into a desire to start a craft brewery.

The beer business in North Carolina is booming (to understate things just a tad). From Durham's Fullsteam, to Asheville's Highland, to Farmville's Duck Rabbit, along with promising newcomers like Mystery Brewing Company and Roth Brewing, the NC craft beer scene is certainly on its way up. If we're to open a new brewery, it has to carve its own little niche in the blossoming arena that is becoming Carolina Beer Country, working alongside and in concert with our fellow brewers, helping to move forward the exciting and unique identity North Carolina is quickly acquiring within craft beer circles.

We have ideas. Good ones. I've spent the last 20 years of my life having to push creative out the door on a timeline, so applying whatever skills I have to beer recipes and branding should come naturally, at least (I hope). This isn't to say that there isn't a lot of hard work in my future — there certainly is (and then some). And because the area is bustling with both established craft breweries and newcomers alike, it's important that we don't simply open the doors on a brewery that bottles yet another pale ale or stout with a fancy label. So stay tuned for what I hope will be a host of great developments and innovative directions over the next few months. It's gonna be a fun ride.