Special Report: Beer Buzz

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Wilmington has seen significant growth in the last couple of years when it comes to the number of brew houses opening their doors.

Those in the craft beer business say this growth is a plus for the tourism industry and local economy. Brewers say the industry creates jobs, tax revenue and a lively social scene.

Ted Coughlin, Ironclad Brewery CEO, said people come from all over to get a taste of what Wilmington has brewing.

“Craft breweries bring tourist. They’re staying in hotels. They’re eating in local restaurants,” said Coughlin.   “I think there’s significant growth coming in this area; I think by the end of 2020 we are going to have more than 20 breweries in Wilmington.”

Brewers across the state are seeing growth as well. According to statistics from the North Carolina Craft Brewers Guild the craft beer industry brings in $300 million in annual wages to the Tar Heel State and about 10,000 jobs.

Kevin Kozak, operations manager for Front Street Brewery, said the craft beer industry not only helps facilitate job creation in the area, but he said people like drinking it and brewers like making it.

“From a technical standpoint the water is second to none,” Kozak said. “Wilmington has some wonderful wonderful soft water to make good beers.”

Kozak said Front Street Brewery caught on early to all the untapped potential the area had for a craft beer scene and more followed suit.

“Front Street Brewery was pretty much the only game in town from 1995 up until a couple years ago, when other breweries started opening,” Kozak said.

Flytrap Brewing is one of those newly opened brew houses. Flytrap Brewing opened in 2014. Owner Mike Barlas said this industry isn’t like other’s out there.

“There’s many many reasons I was drawn into this industry. Love of beer is a big one, and also love of being in an industry that’s collaborative,” said Barlas.

Kozak said the decision made by law makers to lift the long standing ban on beers with an alcohol content above 6 percent has had made a significant impact on the industry as well.



Categories: Local, New Hanover

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