• New brewery highlights Charlotte's growing craft beer industry

    By: Angela Hong


    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - One of Charlotte’s largest breweries, NoDa Brewing Company, is set to open its new location on North Tryon Street next month.

    It's just one of several breweries in Charlotte's growing craft beer industry.

    Eyewitness News discovered plans for a brand new brewery in west Charlotte.

    Blue Blaze Brewing is the first tenant at Savona Mill.

    IMAGES: Blue Blaze Brewing to open in west Charlotte

    The old textile mill was purchased by Argos Real Estate Advisors in 2012. The 100-year-old building will be refurbished for office, retail and residential space.

    The development could become the centerpiece of a neighborhood that has been trying to change its image for years.

    Craig Nunn, co-founder of Blue Blaze Brewing, said he knew the neighborhood would be a great fit.

    "Craft brewing at the heart of its culture is about exploring and doing something different," he said.

    He also liked the location’s proximity to the greenway and uptown.

    "As we got to know more about the neighborhood and the community and got to meet more of the people, it just felt like home to us," he explained.

    GOCAROLINAS: Carolina Brews

    There are 11 breweries in Charlotte. Blue Blaze is just one of 13 new breweries planning to open in Charlotte over the next few years.

    Back in 2011, NoDa Brewing Company was the third brewery in Charlotte. They are opening a new location on North Tryon Street, and it is triple the size of its old one on Davidson St. Their growth is a testament to the growth of the craft beer industry in Charlotte.

    "It's very exciting for the brewing industry and very exciting for Charlotte," NoDa Brewing Company founder Suzie Ford said.

    According to the Charlotte Chamber, breweries generated more than $800 million in economic activity in 2014. The State Craft Brewers Guild said North Carolina ranks 11th in the nation for the number of breweries.

    Ford believes the demand is there, and people's tastes are changing.

    "Obviously, new breweries are seeing that as well and are opening up in places that don't have breweries like Blue Blaze," Ford said.

    Blue Blaze said they will open their doors in the spring of 2016.

    Fast Facts: North Carolina Craft Beer

    • North Carolina currently has 133 craft breweries and brewpubs, more than any other state in the South.
    • North Carolina ranks 11th nationally in number of breweries, more than doubling since 2010, from 45 to 133.
    • The annual economic impact of North Carolina-produced craft beer is estimated at $1.2 billion, which supports more than 10,000 jobs in the state.
    • Three major craft breweries (Oskar Blues, Sierra Nevada and New Belgium) all chose Western North Carolina sites for major expansions announced in 2012.
    • North Carolina currently has more than 45 breweries-in-planning set to open in 2015 and beyond.
    • In 2014, North Carolina craft breweries produced 372,473 barrels, ranking 15th nationally. Production is expected to increase dramatically over the next several years.
    • Nationally, craft beer sales were up 18% by volume in 2014. Despite the rapid growth, craft makes up only 11% of the U.S. market share for beer.
    • North Carolina's craft beer industry reflects the state's rich agricultural heritage by sourcing local ingredients, a fact reflected by the State Fair's addition of the North Carolina Brewers' Cup to its competitions.
    • The state's creative brewers have received national recognition for brews that use a range of locally produced ingredients from barley, wheat and hops to sweet potatoes, blueberries, blackberries, kumquats, sorghum and even persimmons.

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